3 Amazing Physical Benefits of Hiking

If done right, hiking can be an enjoyable and eye-opening activity. You get to navigate the most beautiful aspects of nature and witness some breathtaking views. And if you’re not doing it alone, you get to spend time with and become closer with friends. You also get to go out and take in some fresh air, both of which are great for your mental and physical health. Besides all of these benefits, hiking is also great exercise, offering the following physical benefits.

A woman sitting on a hillside overlooking forestry and a river

Cardio and Reduced Risk of Physical and Mental Illnesses

Hiking is a kind of cardiovascular activity, so it offers all the benefits of other forms of cardio. For instance, almost all forms of cardio reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your blood pressure levels. It can also help you control your weight and improve your mood through the release of endorphins.

Hiking isn’t necessarily the best kind of cardio in terms of results. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, is one of the best forms of cardio. However, one drawback of HIIT that hiking doesn’t share is the desire to pass away during and after it. Hiking combines cardio with an enjoyable activity, so people are more likely to continue doing it and enjoying its benefits relative to something like HIIT.

Weight Training and Strength

Unlike regular walking or running on a treadmill, hiking typically involves carrying gear.

This adds a weight-bearing layer to regular cardio training. Since you’re moving around with weight, and you usually move in all three movement planes, you’re strengthening your muscles.

These muscles include the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Cardio can strengthen your muscles too, but weight-bearing cardio is superior at doing so. This will also improve your bone density as you’re carrying more than your bodyweight.

Proprioception and Balance

Proprioception refers to your ability to sense the position, orientation, and movement of your body and its parts in space. In other words, it’s your body’s ability to tell where it is. This is essential for fine motor control, which includes our ability to balance.

Since hiking typically involves carrying weight on asymmetric terrain, it helps train peoples’ minds and bodies to balance better. Hiking improves your core strength, which helps you balance. It also improves your mind’s awareness of your body and limbs, which further enhances your balance.

If you’re want to experience the numerous physical benefits of hiking, contact us at Light Hiking Gear to prepare. We have the best lightweight backpacks and comfortable hiking daypacks for sale. Visit our shop to ready up for your hiking trip.


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