Why Hike?

Besides the enjoyment you get by being in nature, there are many other benefits to hiking. For now, let’s focus on how hiking is good for you physically and mentally. I love this story from a woman about how four words – go climb that mountain – changed her life.
The Health Benefits of hiking are outlined by the American Hiking Society:

  • -Lose excess pounds
  • -Prevent heart disease
  • -Decrease Hypertension/High Blood Pressure
  • -Improve and maintain mental health
  • -Slow the aging process
  • -Prevent Osteoporosis
  • -Prevent and control Diabetes
  • -Improve arthritis
  • -Relieve back pain
  • -Develop healthy habits of a healthy life

In the article “For Good Health – Take a Hike“, columnists John McKinney discusses several studies that outline specific benefits of hiking that perhaps other forms of exercise do not provide:

  • -One study shows how hiking helps cholesterol – both uphill and downhill hiking reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol. The surprising find was how downhill hiking is twice as effective as uphill hiking to remove blood sugars and improve glucose tolerance.
  • -Another study commissioned in England focused on people affected by depression. They compared the benefits of taking hikes in the woods or near lakes to walking around a mall. The result showed that nearly 3/4 of the outdoor hikers reported reduced levels of depressions. Nearly 1/4 of the mall walkers actually reported an increase in depression. The study reported 90% had an increase in self-esteem after a nature walk, while 44% reported a decrease in self-esteem after walking the mall. And finally, 88% reported being in better moods after hiking while 45% reported a worse mood after the mall walk.

More to come – stay tuned.

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