We all know that we should eat well-balanced meals, exercise daily, give to charity and be kind to old people and children. A woman’s role in our society is so diverse and we don’t always have the time to just simply exercise. The health benefits with hiking outshine most exercises. You can hike alone, or with family, you can do a lot of hiking for free and it doesn’t take much of your time to get fit because you can hike as part of your exercise.
Hiking health benefits:
- Hiking is a powerful cardio workout: It is not always the distance but the endurance factor that plays a role. Hiking 1 (one) kilometer is not far but hiking 1 kilometer up a mountain where you have to climb and stretch to reach the top, that is a cardio workout.
- Hiking build strength: As it is a walking, weight-bearing exercise, you build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and the muscles in your lower legs and hips. You also strengthen your core. You can tone your body with hiking downhill.
- Hiking improves your mental well-being: Hiking in nature improves your mood if you want to think or feel sad and troubled, walking outside and getting the well-deserved dose of Vitamin D as sun exposure helps optimize hormones. Fresh air has more oxygen and you will be able to think better and to relax more.
How does hiking influence a woman’s physical health?
A powerful cardio workout, hiking can lower the risk of heart disease. Researchers found that regular walking might lead to a higher count of white blood cells which fights infections. Exercise also helps balance stress hormones like cortisol, when cortisol is too high it suppresses our immune system.
Hiking improves your blood pressure and sugar levels and can make you lose weight. Hiking increases our muscle strength. We use our whole body to hike so you get a lower and upper body workout in one. Hiking downhill can tone your body by damaging more muscle fibers because you are resisting the force of gravity against your own body weight. Hiking uphill burn all those calories and if you carry a “heavier bag” your core muscles will work more and you will improve in balance and be less likely to injure yourself in hiking and everyday life.
Hiking boost your endurance, if you hike at high elevations, your body will learn to function with less oxygen. Increasing your stamina helps you to endure discomfort and stress and also has a direct influence on your recovery time. Energy all day long to do what you have to and what you love.
Vitamin D is vital in maintaining healthy bones, people need vitamin D so that they can absorb calcium. Hiking boost that bone density and can help in preventing osteoporosis.
Hiking can also lower breast and colon cancer – the more strenuously the walk is the lower risk as per a study published online Oct. 4, 2013, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. The researchers say physical activity helps regulate hormones like estrogen, which can fuel breast cancer growth.
You look and feel great.
How does hiking improve your mental health?
Hiking is done outside in nature – in an academic research paper on topic “Health Benefits from Nature, Experiences Depend on Dose” published on 23 June 2016 a study found that up to a further 7% of depression cases could be prevented if all city residents were to visit green spaces at least once a week for an average duration of 30 minutes or more.
- Nature provides us with fresh air and the greens capes raise serotonin level by improving our mood.
- Sun exposure gives us that much-needed dose of Vitamin D and can make us sleep better.
- We can clear our heads, nature is quite spectacular in her views.
- Spending time out hiking can improve your memory and recollection.
- It gives us self-confidence by pushing us to step out of our comfort zone.
After all “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” Edmund Hillary.
How fit must you be before you go on your hike?
Hiking is for beginners and for experts. You can start with an easy trail and work towards that big challenge. You start with a pair of hiking shoes/boots and a bottle of water.
An occasional hike is not going to get you fit but if you have hiking as part of your exercise plan that means you are partaking in exercise 3 to 5 times a week then you will benefit from the physical part of hiking.
Mentally you will benefit the first day out in nature. It doesn’t matter if you are hiking the trail along the river or finding that footpath down by the rocks leading you to the beach.
Life is an adventure
Hiking should be fun in fact any exercise that you do should be something you enjoy. Hiking gives you a good cardio workout, build muscle and core and boost your energy levels. It gives you goals that you can reach and reaching it gives you that self-confidence.
Hiking is not an expensive sport to start:
- You need walking boots or shoes and good socks.
- A day pack to put in your water and snacks.
- A rain jacket doesn’t matter if the weather forecast said no rain…
- A hat and sunscreen.
- Know what the emergency numbers are should you experience a problem.
- Tell somebody where you are going to hike so that your process can be tracked. (There are WhatsApp groups for this find out by the local information sites.)
- Fully charged cellphone, so you can take all those beautiful photos.
Life is short, we owe it to ourselves to get out there and enjoy it. Step out of your comfort zone, set our goals and achieve it. Life should not be seen as a dark and uneasy future that lies in front of us but it should be an adventure.
Let’s go hiking.