The warm sunshine on your face, the sound of the wind rushing through the trees overhead, and the soft earthy feel of the trail under your boots. Not only are these experiences enjoyable to have, but they’re good for you, too.
Hiking is proven to have many health benefits, ranging from physical exercise you get when out on the trail, to emotional or mental relief that comes from being in nature.
Hiking is one of the best ways to get exercise. No matter whattype of trailyou find yourself on, hiking is a great whole-body workout—from head to toe and everything in between.
Check out all of these physical benefits of hiking:
Building stronger muscles and bones
Improving your sense of balance
Improving your heart health
Decreasing the risk of certain respiratory problems
Whether you find yourself scrambling up a steep incline or walking on a winding dirt path, hiking in our national parks is the perfect opportunity to get a work out!
Being in nature can boost your mood and improve mental health. Spending quality time in the great outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety, and can lead to a lower risk of depression, according to a study done by researchers atStanford University. In addition to having mental health benefits, being outdoors opens up your senses to your surroundings and improves your sensory perception. Taking in the sights, smells, and feelings of nature has so many health benefits it can even be prescribed by a doctor.
You don’t have to go it alone next time you lace up your hiking boots. Grab a friend, neighbor, or family member for more fun on the trail. Hiking with a partner, or even in a group, can improve the strength and health of your relationships. Because hiking ranges in difficulty from an extremely challenging climb to a casual way of spending time outside, it’s a great way to strengthen the friendships or bonds you have with your companions. Whether it’s with a younger sibling, neighborhood friend, or even a grandparent, hiking a trail together can bring you closer and help build a healthy relationship.