Benefits of Hiking in the Outdoors
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
Hiking outdoors, especially in the beautiful Mpumalanga countryside not only offers us the ability to experience beautiful surroundings, breathe in the lovely fresh air and enjoy the incredible sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees, but also offers us great health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of hiking…
Promotes Weight Loss
An hour of hiking can burn up to 500 calories, depending on the incline and weight of your backpack. Hiking trails that extend up into the mountains or hills can not only help with burning calories but research suggests the higher the altitude levels, the greater the potential for weight loss.
Gives You Full Control of Your Workout
Hiking in the great outdoors gives you the opportunity to plot your own course and adventure, while setting the pace that suits you most. You are in absolute control of when you want to hike – in the early morning when the mist hangs low and the dewdrops are dripping from trees, near midday in the cooler winter months, allowing the winter sun to bake your back or late afternoon when the shadows start casting beautiful shady patches; and of course you can decide how far you hike and whether you decide to opt for a more technical or basic trail.
Helps Tone Your Body
Regular walking helps you get into better shape and gives you a full-body workout. This is even truer when hiking. By hiking up sharp inclines you tone the muscles in your legs and the additional weight of a backpack will challenge the strength of your upper body and core.
Decreases Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Taking regular hikes helps decrease blood pressure and cholesterol which in return reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Research indicates that hiking downhill helps regulate the blood sugar level in your body and improves your glucose tolerance.
Hiking is a Natural Healer
Close your eyes and picture that you are looking at an incredible view of rolling hills and gorges; trees as far as your eyes can see. Imagine hearing the sounds of the wind whistling through the trees, the birds calling each other and perhaps even water trickling by. Nature is the ultimate healer and a great way to battle stress. In addition, some studies have found that regular hiking may help cancer patients and people with other illnesses recover more quickly, as well as increase their bodies’ capacity for storing antioxidants, which also helps fight against disease.
According to research spending time outdoors increases attention span and aids in bettering creative problem-solving by up to 50 percent. This is not hard to imagine if you think of that awesome feeling you get in your heart when you bask in nature. How could that feeling not be a source of a whole lot of creativity?
Hiking is said to be a good kind of therapy. The increased oxygen levels and endorphins released are good for your body, mind and soul. It helps reduce depression levels and consequently, leads to a more productive lifestyle.
Reconnecting with Yourself
Spending time in nature and taking some time away from technology gives you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and regain a sense of well-being.
Feeling inspired to reconnect in nature? Have a look at Crystal Spring Mountain Lodge’s hiking trails or check out our website for more information.