Health

Hiking for a Happier, Healthier You: 5 Reasons to Hit the Hills

Fall is the perfect time to hike: crisp air, leaves changing color, beautiful views and tons of health benefits. So, get reading, then get going.

Hiking is a wonderful activity for your mind, body and soul. It takes you to places that you’ve never seen before, and shows you some of the most beautiful views that nature has to offer.

Hiking is something that everyone should incorporate into their fitness routine or at least give it a try once a month or so, plus it’s a perfect exercise for fall. It’s not too hot, so you’re not sweating buckets, and not too cold, so you won’t freeze and want to turn back immediately.

Walking through a peaceful, quiet forest or national park with beautiful surroundings of changing colors and crisp cool air—nothing sounds better, except maybe all of these great benefits from hiking.

Shake Up Your Cardio

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Hiking will improve your cardio so much faster than just walking on a treadmill. Incorporating hiking into your routine will help to keep your heart and lungs healthy as well as improve the flow of blood through your body. It’s also known to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes as well as cancer risks, while raising energy levels.

Sometimes the gym gets boring. What better way to shake up your cardio than by getting outside and doing so much good for your body in such a fun way.

Hiking will also do wonders for toning your legs and lifting and shaping your butt. An added bonus is that hiking is a fun way to burn calories. Depending on the difficulty of the hike, how fast you’re moving and how long you hike, you can burn anywhere from 250 to over 500 calories in an hour.

Fights Depression

Exercising, a healthy dose of vitamin D and connecting with nature are all natural ways to fight depression. Plus, being active and moving your body will increase your endorphin levels, which in turn makes you feel happier and healthier. So, get outside and get moving.

Better Sleep Quality

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Breathing in fresh air can promote better quality sleep, especially if it’s done on a regular basis. Getting a good night’s sleep is your body’s secret weapon because it’s usually the time our bodies heal and grow.

This will increase your immunity levels, improve your skin (goodbye dark circles), help you live longer, help to fight signs of aging and keep you feeling great from the inside out.

Bring a Friend

Use the buddy system and bring a friend/boyfriend/sister/mom/kids/dog—anyone you enjoy spending time with. Hiking is always much more enjoyable when you go with someone, and using the buddy system is smart for safety reasons.

It’s a great way to teach your kids about nature and get them outside and active, ensuring that they’re getting enough exercise. Your dog(s) will love the opportunity to go for a walk and explore a new setting; it’ll also tire them out so they’ll be calm and sleepy later on. This works for kids, too.

Taking your boyfriend along could make for a fun, cheap date. You can pack a lunch, take scenic pictures, spend quality time together or get frisky in the forest behind a tree—the possibilities are endless.

Hiking can also make for a great girls’ day: instead of sitting in a coffee shop and catching up, take your coffee to go and hit the hills as you gossip with your girls and enjoy the scenery! You’ll have a lot more fun getting out and active than staying inside. Plus, you’ll burn off those latte calories with ease.

Feel Accomplished

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Hiking your way along a trail, or up a mountain that leads to beautiful views, ignites a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Knowing that you can push yourself and conquer such hills is something to be proud of, and you’re sculpting your bod while doing so, which will add an extra dose of confidence.

Once you finish one trail, you’ll want to do another and another; soon you’ll want to challenge yourself even further and your sense of adventure will flourish.

The great thing about hiking is that it’s something that you can do almost any time of year depending on where you live. In the winter months, you might not be able to do as much: hiking in the snow is a great and intense workout, but do your research before attempting such feats—safety first!

The best thing about hiking though, is that it’s free! It’s a great way to get out of the house, hang out with friends and get fit. Lastly, don’t ignore your own backyard. There are most likely tons of scenic trails and hikes that are right near you, so get out and explore your surroundings.

What’s your favorite thing about getting active outdoors? Add to this list in the comment section below!

About the author

Chelsy Normandeau

Chelsy Normandeau is a marketing student from Vancouver, Canada, with a passion for the great outdoors, craft beer, and writing. She aspires to teach others her money saving ways, fitness tips and tricks, and has the dream of one day being a best selling author.

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