There is nothing quite like spending time outside. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to get out and enjoy nature.
Not only is hiking in a natural environment a great way to stay physically fit, but it can also help improve your mood and mindset. There are plenty of parks, trails, and preserves available in virtually any locale, and you can hike in every season provided you dress for the weather. In fact, hiking the same trail in different seasons helps to bring new perspectives to the same landscape.
To find a hiking trail in your area, one of the applications I find helpful is the AllTrails app, it has trail reviews and lets you know the difficulty level of each hike as well as each trail’s elevation. If you live in rolling or mountainous terrain, hiking up and down hills can provide an even better cardio workout.
Here are some of the reasons hiking is great for the entire body:
- Hiking serves as a great form of cardio exercise which can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- As a weight-bearing exercise, hiking can help build muscle mass as well as promote mobility and healthy joints.
- Adding a day pack or trekking poles can enhance the physical experience and strength benefits
- Hiking can help with weight management.
- Healthy levels of sunshine stimulate vitamin D production for bone and immune health.
- Stepping out into nature offers a break from the challenges of everyday life and can lead to feelings of calm and relaxation, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Hiking also offers other psychological benefits by stimulating hormones like adrenaline and endorphins which can boost your mood and energy levels contributing to an enhanced sense of well-being.
For all these reasons and more, hiking can be a great part of your fitness lifestyle, just be sure to hike at your own level, bring enough water and come prepared with the right clothing and gear. Be sure to consult with your physician if you have any type of heart disease or hypertension.
Hopefully by now you are motivated to get outside – I hope you enjoy your next hike!
I snapped these photos from a hike up to the summit of Mt. Flora in Berthoud Pass, CO. The elevation at the summit is 13,146 feet!