The Top 5 Wellness Benefits of Hiking

Discover how hiking can benefit your mind, body and soul.

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There is something magical about venturing into the great outdoors and hiking. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the trails, hiking offers lots of benefits for mind, body and soul. So grab your hiking gear and explore the top five benefits of hiking that will leave you feeling energized and uplifted!

Boosts physical fitness
Hiking is an excellent way to improve your overall fitness. Although other forms of exercise are great for your health, according to the 10 Adventures platform, hiking has benefits that can't be replicated by a treadmill. According to The American Hiking Society, hiking builds muscle strength. So, not only will you enjoy the great outdoors, you will also improve your cardiovascular health and stamina.

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Enhanced mental wellbeing
Hiking has a profound impact on your mental wellbeing, offering a much needed break from the stresses of daily life. The APA organization has shown that spending time in nature, including hiking, improved mental health and even cognition. In addition to the fun and enjoyment you can experience, there are other real benefits you can start to observe.

According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Point of Blue blog, going hiking can help improve your mood, increase your self esteem and sometimes reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can even reduce symptoms of ADHD.  The combination of the physical activity, the fresh air and the calming effects of nature can have a transformative effect on your mental wellbeing. 

Strengthens social connections
Hiking provides a wonderful opportunity for strengthening social connections and fostering a sense of community. Whether you go on a hike with friends or join a hiking group, the shared experiences can be highly beneficial and can create wonderful shared memories. 

Hiking is hard. But according to the Active website, hiking as a group helps people maintain their motivation. So grab a friend or join a local hiking group, and experience the joy of connecting with others while exploring nature. 

Improves cognitive function
An amazing added benefit to hiking is improved cognitive function. Engaging in physical activity while being surrounded by nature stimulates the brain, leading it to improve focus, creativity and problem-solving skills. Research by the University of British Columbia revealed that spending time in nature can improve cognitive function and attention span. And the opposite is also true. 

A drop in spending time in nature and in physical activity can possibly cause a cognitive decline, according to a study published in the BCMJ Medical Journal. Who knew that the sensory experiences that you encounter during hiking could help you gain clarity and peace of mind?

Nurturing environmental awareness
One of the most significant benefits of hiking is the opportunity to foster environmental awareness and appreciation for nature. As you explore trails, forests and mountains, it can help you connect to nature and gain a greater understanding of the needs to protect the environment. 

The Eco BNB blog lists a few things to keep in mind while hiking in order to ensure you stay environmentally conscious. Those include being careful about creating fires, respecting wildlife and making sure to bring things with you in order to not litter. By engaging in hiking, you can actively contribute to environmental awareness and help your planet. 

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