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7 Ways Hiking can Improve your Health

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7 ways hiking can improve your health. Visit to find out how hiking is more than just a fun outdoor activity.

At the beginning of a new year, many people go on diets and are determined to lose the pounds they put on over the holidays. 

But what about choosing a new lifestyle that will do even more for your health than just lose the weight? 

What lifestyle is that? The HIKING lifestyle.  Take a look at 7 of the health benefits of hiking:

  1. Hiking is good for your brain.

Did you know that hiking benefits psychological well-being, increases creativity and problem solving, and may lessen the effects of ADHD in children?  Recent studies have been conducted that brought these conclusions

  1. Hiking can help control your weight.

You don’t have to drive to a sweaty, stinky gym every day to keep your weight under control.  Do you love nature, desire to stay fit, but hate the gym??  You are not alone, and I have some good news for you.  Hiking can help you stay fit.  What is great about hiking is that you can determine the activity level of your hike and set your own pace.  A 154 lb person burns up to 370 calories in one hour of hiking.

  1. Hiking is good for your mental health.

Research has shown that hiking can be very therapeutic for those who suffer from severe depression.  There are other mental benefits to hiking as well.  It can boost your mood, improve your outlook, give you better quality sleep, clear your mind, and brighten your spirit.  "Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety," says Gregory A. Miller, Ph.D., president of the American Hiking Society. "Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that."

  1. Hiking can help with diabetes.

Hiking is a great way to improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  For those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, hiking can be beneficial with managing blood glucose levels.  Hiking both uphill and downhill is beneficial in lowering cholesterol, but hiking downhill is two times more effective at improving glucose tolerance and removing blood sugars.

  1. Hiking can increase bone density.

According to the American Hiking Society, hiking helps reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis by increasing the bone density and slowing the rate of calcium loss. Thus, strengthening the bones and decreasing their susceptibility to breaking.

  1. Hiking can improve your overall health.

Aside from all of these specific health benefits to hiking, hiking can also improve your overall health.  It lowers your risk of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, back pain, heart disease and high cholesterol.  Additionally, hiking increases fitness, tones your muscles, you’re able to take control of your workouts, and it slows aging.  Lastly, hiking is a great way to build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs.

  1. Hiking is a great way to start practicing healthy habits!  Here are just a few ways you can resolve to make hiking a part of your lifestyle:

  • Have a weekly family hike day.  This is exactly what some of our I’d Hike That Crew members decided to do.  Every Sunday is dedicated to a hike, rain or shine.  Not only is this a great way to get some Vitamin D and exercise, but it makes for great family time.

  • Not sure where to start and don’t have any friends who are into hiking?  Join some hiking groups and get involved.  There are tons of Facebook groups focused on hiking.  Find one that is near your area.  What a great opportunity to start a new hobby and make new friends.

  • Are you the type who loves to set and achieve goals?  You may want to sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge, a global movement empowering people to take a personal journey to discover the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits gained through hiking once a week for an entire year.

If this has given you the determination to make hiking a part of your lifestyle this year, be sure to check out the top 10 hiking essentials before you hit the trails.

Has hiking improved your health in some way?  We would love to hear your story.  Happy New Year, and Happy Trails!

1 Response


January 18, 2018

I have lost nearly a 100 pounds hiking in the last 4 years. I use to be on antidepressants, but no longer have to take them since I have started hiking. I started doing 1 mile trails that weren’t too steep. Now I can do ten or 15 miles a day without a problem. This year I have been collecting the equipment I need to start backpacking this coming spring. I am super excited about it too!. Hiking has truly changed my life for the better!

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