4 Benefits of Hiking

Hiking doesn't only bring you closer to nature, it can also help you on a physical and psychological level. Explore the hiking trails around you and immerse yourself in their marvels!
4 Benefits of Hiking

Last update: 16 March, 2021

Hiking is much more common than you may think, especially in regions with varied geography; areas that boast mountains, rivers, and lakes. Have you ever done this activity? Or would you like to know a little more about its benefits before giving it a go?

Generally speaking, hiking is a recreational tourist activity done mainly in natural areas. People usually follow hiking trails as they learn about the history of the place, or simply disconnect from the daily routine far from the city.

Usually, people hike in groups or under the supervision of a guide who specializes in the area, but you can also do it alone. Beyond what we mentioned above, hiking can provide diverse benefits.

Benefits of hiking

Hiking developed from people’s need to do physical activity and distance themselves from everything that locks them into the city routine. In other words, it became a chance to do something different, training-based, and healthy.

Luckily, hiking goes far beyond simple training and provides an innumerable amount of benefits. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important positive side effects of hiking:

1. Reduce stress

Thanks to the fact it immerses people in nature, many people feel relief, a sense of calm, and harmony. In addition to that, the body finds itself doing a physical activity which in turn promotes the secretion of different hormones related to happiness.

person standing on mountain after hiking

The most common hormone your body releases when doing this activity is endorphins. This hormone plays a part in reducing symptoms of stress, as explained in a publication posted by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).

2. Strengthen your cardiovascular system

Hiking usually involves traverse terrain and irregular paths so the amount of effort you need to exert varies. By being irregular, these kinds of paths are better; you’ll have zones where you can rest and others where you can work harder.

This contributes to increasing your heart rate, and your blood pressure. Gradually, both your heart and arteries will become stronger and more efficient, similar to what happens with practicing other sports.

3. Lose calories: benefits of hiking

As it’s a walk, hiking comes under the aerobic activity group. If it’s aerobic resistance, calorie-burning is another of the benefits of hiking.

However, hiking doesn’t burn as many calories as other types of high-intensity exercises. But, the calories we burn whilst hiking come mostly from fat. This is another reason why you should try it!

4. Strengthen your muscles

The body’s main muscular groups take the lead when it comes to hiking. Specifically, this activity benefits the leg muscles – the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, among others.

If you hike regularly, your muscles will strengthen gradually and progressively. And, after some time, it’s likely your hikes will be longer and more complex.

Things to keep in mind when hiking

When it comes to hiking, it’s important that you keep a few things in mind, both before and during the activity.

  • Plan your hike: in case you’re not following an experienced guide, ensure you plan your hike. Become familiar with it first and figure out its main characteristics.
  •  Take supplies: easy-to-digest supplies, water, a first aid kit, and other things you may not be able to find during the hike. Remember that any unexpected circumstance can take you by surprise. Also, food and water are essential to keep you properly energized and hydrated.
  • Suitable additions: apart from the basic survival supplies, you should also bring the essentials with you, such as a map, compass, mobile phone, and similar items.
Hiking in the French Pyrenees; photo of mountains

Benefits of hiking: a group of hikers is better

Despite the fact that you can enjoy the benefits of hiking whilst doing so completely alone, hiking in the company of others is a lot better. This way, you’re able to better enjoy what the walk offers, as well as pleasant conversation.

You can invite friends, family, or arm yourself with a group of acquaintances who share the same passions. Also, when hiking with others, you’ll have a solid reason to continue this activity and you’ll notice that you’re more motivated.

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  • Conde Fernández, L., Ceballos López, D., López Leiva, F., Río del Rosal, J., Ortega Ariza, F., & Funes Caño, J. (2012). El senderismo una actividad física saludable para las personas mayores. EmásF: Revista Digital de Educación Física.
  • Saez, R. (2005). Guía de senderismo y montaña. In Cuesta Arriba.