If you’ve never hiked before, you may feel intimidated to get up and start walking, but you shouldn’t be! Hiking is a great stress relieving activity no matter your age or fitness level. Plus, there are many tips for hiking for beginners if you’re dying to get some altitude, but are still a little nervous about getting out there. First though, let’s talk about why walking to relieve stress and hiking are simply so good for your soul, heart and body!
Great Reasons For Hiking and Walking to Relieve Stress
Let’s face it: life is hectic today. We are so removed from nature and the world around us and instead, extremely tied into technology. We check our phones, laptops, tablets, and computers more than we check our own mental health inventory. We work more, thanks to technology, although we have more flexibility—also thanks to technology.
How do we put our busy work schedules and social media-fueled lives aside in order to step away from it to clear our heads and gain perspective? Hiking.
Hiking is one of the best stress relieving activities ever because:
#1 It’s Great For Your Body:
- Hiking burns calories and gives you a great cardiovascular workout.
- Hiking will give those lungs and muscles extra oxygen to power your organs, muscles and more!
- It works your bones! According to the CDC, hiking at least 150 minutes each week can help your joints. So if you’ve got arthritis, buy some hiking shoes and hiking clothes and gear, and get ready to hike!
- Hiking can stabilize blood sugar, so hiking for beginners with say diabetes, would be a great activity and exercise choice.
#2 Hiking Can Keep You Rooted:
If you need to decompress and get connected to your thoughts and feelings, hiking is the perfect activity. You’re away from the chaos of every day live, and you’re not glued to your phone. Instead of reading your Facebook feed or work emails, you’re reading nature. Plus, the sunshine is great vitamin D—a nutrient we are typically (especially women) deficient in thanks to our indoor and sedentary lifestyles.Hiking is peaceful and rooted in our first environment: the great outdoors.
#3 Hiking Helps Your Moods, Sleep and More:
Fresh air alone is shown to help increase positive moods, but add in the endorphin power of hiking, and your brain is already happier! People who suffer from anxiety and depression will find that hiking gives them a chance to quiet the “noise” in their heads. Even better? Most people hike in groups, which gives a social support and experience for someone suffering with anxiety or depression. Hiking will automatically bring not only the exercise benefits of such a vigorous cardiovascular experience, but also the benefits of interacting with others, especially people we are close to.
Tips for Hiking For Beginners
If you’re a beginner and looking to hike to relieve stress, here are some quick and easy tips to make the experience great!
- Make sure you have the proper hiking clothes and shoes in order to make your hike a comfortable one! You want your feet to last, and your skin to be able to breathe, as well as be protected from the elements! Besides, who wants to freeze or overheat out in the great outdoors? No one! The right hiking clothes help.
- Start out with friends: hiking alone can relieve stress and give you great thinking time, but start out with someone more experienced than you!
- Tell someone else where you’re going, whether you’re hiking with company or not!
- Set the hike for the time allotted—if you don’t have the whole day, pick a realistic trail to hike!
- Hat, hat, hat! Please—wear a hat, and protect your head, neck and ears from sunburn
No matter whom you go with or how long you hike, hiking is hands down, one of the best stress relieving activities ever! So grab your hiking clothes, your hydration, and your friends and get ready to hit the great outdoors!