Without a doubt, hiking is having its moment. While it has always been a known sport, the activity has been attracting the attention of new fans lately, the way yoga has been doing for years. Before you embark on a journey to beginner-friendly hiking destinations in the country, it pays to know a few facts about hiking and the outdoors first. Here, we've listed down some reasons why hiking has taken over in the last few years.
Humans are naturally built for it.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent most of their lives roaming the wild—a stark difference from the modern indoor lifestyle that we've become accustomed to. So, it's really no surprise hiking is considered one of the best workouts. Experts say that the activity itself serves as an antidote to city dwellers who experience noise pollution daily.
It can be a full-body workout.
Depending on how much you weigh and the incline of your hike, just an hour of hiking has been proven to burn up to 300 to 500 calories. The elevation of your hike can even be part of the equation as a higher altitude increases weight loss. Once you've gotten the hang of it, you can incorporate more challenging paths that can make hiking a full-body workout such as light rock climbing to even the use of trekking poles.
Hiking has endless health benefits.
As a workout, hiking helps lower your risk for heart disease, improves your blood pressure while preventing and keeping diabetes at bay. It does so by giving your muscles a good workout, allowing your body to break glucose down to energy. A study has also shown that the combined benefits of hiking have been known to help both cancer patients and those at risk. Keep in mind, however, that hiking with a chronic disease deserves extra attention.
Nature is good for the mind and soul.
John Muir once wrote, "Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." And it's this peace that's considered one of the biggest benefits of hiking. You can even take it further by meditating and contemplating on the spot which helps with relieving stress and anxiety.
What's more, being one with nature allows you to disconnect from technology and engage your senses which, in turn, boosts creative problem-solving. A study by Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer says this comes from an increase in exposure to natural stimuli that makes you more emotionally positive.
It's a good way to meet new people.
Hiking's benefits go beyond physical and mental health. It's also a good activity to share with family and friends. Aside from the fact that you'll be spending more time with each other, taking on challenges together is good for relationships.
Unfortunately, hiking really isn't for everyone. If you don't know who else to drag, don't worry as there are a number of hiking groups you can join such as A Mountaineers, Beyond Outdoors Adventures, Cordillera Great Traverse, Hiking Buddies PH, MAD Travel, Taklad Mountaineering Group, Travel Factor, or Trail Adventours.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.