What are the Health Benefits of Hiking?

Hiking Has Many Benefits

Hiking combines all the benefits of physical exercise with the beauty and serenity of nature. Not only do we improve ourselves physically, but we gain major mental health and spiritual benefits. Incorporating hiking into our exercise routine can be one of the best ways to improve the healing of our mind, body, and spirit in recovery.

The physical benefits of hiking are tremendous. Hiking is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness. It can improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and overall heart health. Hiking also lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and many forms of cancer. According to Harvard Health, “Like brisk walking, hiking is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, particularly if your route includes some hills, which will force your heart to work harder.

Hiking on the slightly uneven surface of a trail also provides a natural way to engage the core muscles in your torso and to hone your balance skills.” Hiking can improve balance, help manage weight, increase bone density, and build muscle.

The Mental Health Benefits Can Be Just as Great

The mental health effects of hiking can be just as dramatic. When we get out into nature, our mental health and mood improves. In to a 2017 Huffington Post article entitled Proof That Hiking Makes You Happier and Healthier, Abigail Wise explains, “Those looking for a brainpower boost need not look further than the closest trail. Research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

The authors of the study also point out that the results may have as much to do with unplugging from technology as they do spending time outside. ‘This is a way of showing that interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving,’ David Strayer, co-author of the study, tells the Wilderness Society.”

Hiking may even provide a natural stress-relief. Harvard Health explains, “Yet another advantage of hiking may be the restorative and stress-relieving powers of being outside in nature. A number of small studies hint that spending time in green space — nature preserves, woodlands, and even urban parks — may ease people’s stress levels.

Giving the growing consensus that stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease risk, anything you can do to mitigate stress is likely helpful.” Hiking may be a particularly useful tool for those in recovery because of its ability to heal the mind, body, and spirit in various ways.

Your life can be one of health and happiness in recovery. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin the rewarding journey of recovery. The Lakehouse Recovery Center offers a variety of fun and effective therapeutic techniques, including hiking, rock climbing, yoga, fishing, and boating. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707


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