The majority of people around you may think that hiking is simply an exhausting activity that people do for the sheer fun and thrill of it. They fail to see the many benefits they can get from hiking. Let the following blow those preconceptions out of the water because truly, there are a lot of benefits that can be gained from hiking, particularly on weight loss.
Physical Benefits of Hiking
Hiking is a very good exercise that gives your whole body an all-around workout.
- Speeds Up Burning of Calories: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity because the lack of movement means the body is not burning calories. All those unburned calories are then stored as excess fat in the body. Physical activity and movement will speed up the burning of these calories. When hiking in cold temperatures, the body will respond by producing more energy in order to adapt the body temperature to the cold. This energy will be derived from the calories stored in the body, putting them to good use instead of storing them as unwanted fat.
- Muscle Development and Toning: Muscle burns more calories than fat does. In fact, several studies among weightlifters shows that, one person can burn an extra 30 to 35 calories for each pound of muscle gained. That means the more muscles you develop and the more toned it is, the faster you will burn calories and lose weight. Hiking also strengthens most of the muscle groups of the body. This will not only give your body more strength and endurance, it will also prevent diseases such as arthritis.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health: Regular hiking can lower oneâ€™s blood pressure while increasing the HDL good cholesterol which, in turn, decreases of the bad LDL cholesterol. This bad cholesterol is responsible for clogged arteries that often lead to heart problems.
- Lower Incidences of Injuries: Often, working out at the gym could lead to a pulled muscle or perhaps a sprain. Hiking is an exercise that can be done at any pace, depending on your capabilities. Plus, you will also be wearing hiking gear that will protect you even more. Hiking boots will minimize the chance of an ankle sprain, and walking poles will reduce the weight pressure from your knees.
Psychological Benefits of Hiking
- Stress and Tension Relief: Physical activity is always a good way to calm all suppressed tension and worries; physical activity in the great outdoors will amplify the results that exercise brings. Sometimes, the atmosphere of your local gym is not conducive for finding that inner peace you seek. Hiking ticks these boxes by letting you exercise in a calming and soothing environment.
- Positivity: A relaxed mind is necessary to have a positive attitude and, in the process, boost oneâ€™s self-confidence. Hiking has the power to give a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. The mere fact that anyone can do it â€“ any age, any gender â€“ is also very effective in raising a personâ€™s self-esteem.
- Pocket-friendly: Much of the stress we are experiencing in our daily lives is related toÂ money. You donâ€™t need a huge budget to start hiking. Get yourself a pair of hiking boots, a backpack and the appropriate clothing, and youâ€™re all set.
Weight Loss Through Hiking
Now, you may wonder how all those things contribute to weight loss and weight management. Imagine a middle-aged woman who weighs around 150 lbs. She starts hiking for 30 minutes at a slow pace. For that period of time, she can burn around 250 calories. Upon assessing her own capabilities, she decides she can hike longer and farther. She chooses a tougher terrain, one that involves steep descents and ascents. The amount of calories burned gradually increases. As her hikes become longer and more challenging, the more hiking gear she packs in her backpack. That added weight that she carries around will even make the calorie-burning speed up.
In the process, she will develop muscles which are even better than fat when it comes to burning calories. The workout that her cardiovascular system gets from hiking will keep the flow of blood in her body smooth and will regulate her cholesterol levels. The absence of any stress or anxiety will also make her look at things in a more positive light, motivating her to do more and do better. If you are healthy in body as well as in mind, you can accomplish anything you set your heart and mind to.
Look at hiking as only the beginning of your quest to lose weight and stay healthy. Soon, you may even take up other forms of outdoor activities related to hiking. For now, though, arm yourself with the proper hiking gear and get started on your trail to losing weight.