Today more and more people, especially in Europe and America, are adopting hiking as a major outdoor event. The trend of hiking is also increasing in many other parts of the world.
As more people discover the enjoyment of the outdoors, they are also realizing health benefits. With that come some questions. How beneficial is hiking for your health? Is hiking for everyone? Are there age limitations? Are there psychological benefits too?
Most hikers would say the benefits to our body are many. Benefits range from controlling obesity to preventing heart disease and even improving the quality of air we breathe.
While many sports activities and games require special equipment or training to get started, hiking is much simpler and can be more beneficial than any other exercise. Almost anyone can put on a pair of shoes and gather a few accessories and head for the trail for a little fresh air.
The scenery, accessibility and diverse nature of hiking trails make this heart-healthy pastime attractive for people of all ages, fitness levels and income brackets. Moreover, hiking doesn’t require any special expertise and skills.
Hiking is essentially more vigorous walking which is considered one of the most perfect forms of exercise for your body. You also get a chance to spend some quality time with Mother Nature, so it can be a cleansing, mental health stimulant. There are trails around the Columbia Basin to fit just about everyone’s physical abilities. And unlike other activities or sports, it is a pursuit that allows people to determine their own limitations.
Research shows hiking is an excellent way to lose extra pounds and improve overall health. To improve overall health, we don”t necessarily need to do heavy and painful workouts, but just a short brisk walk of few minutes can be more than sufficient. According to the American Heart Association, it’s best to walk vigorously for 30 to 60 minutes 3-4 times per week. But even low- to moderate intensity walking can have both short and long-term benefits . Similarly, According to Walking for Health, people “won’t find a better way to lose weight than walking.” The results will be more permanent and pleasurable than any diet or weight loss scheme.
The US surgeon general has called the increased rate of obesity in the United States an epidemic. One report states two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and the number is increasing year after year. In addition, thirteen percent of children are overweight. The report recommends communities create safe sidewalks or walking trails to encourage physical activity. We are fortunate to have those kinds of trails right here in the Tri-Cities. There is a long list of the health benefits of hiking. Examples are: losing excess pounds, preventing heart disease, decreasing hypertension or high blood pressure, improving and maintaining mental health, slowing the aging process, preventing osteoporosis, preventing and controlling diabetes, improving arthritis, and relieving back pain.
The great thing about this healthy habit is it doesn’t cost much. You can also take other family members and children along without much difficulty. Extend your group of hiking friends even wider. You can help others strengthen team building and positive attitudes. It’s also likely you’ll see other benefits we haven’t even mentioned, just more reasons to get out and Hike Tri-Cities!
Edited by Paul