Hiking is proven to have many health benefits, ranging from physical exercise you get when out on the trail, to emotional or mental relief that comes from being in nature.
Hiking is one of the best ways to get exercise. No matter what type of trail you find yourself on, hiking is a great whole-body workout—from head to toe and everything in between.
Check out all of these physical benefits of hiking:
- Building stronger muscles and bones
- Improving your sense of balance
- Improving your heart health
- Decreasing the risk of certain respiratory problems
Whether you find yourself scrambling up a steep incline or walking on a winding dirt path, hiking in our national parks is the perfect opportunity to get a work out!
Mental HealthBeing in nature can boost your mood and improve mental health. Spending quality time in the great outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety, and can lead to a lower risk of depression, according to a study done by researchers at Stanford University. In addition to having mental health benefits, being outdoors opens up your senses to your surroundings and improves your sensory perception. Taking in the sights, smells, and feelings of nature has so many health benefits it can even be prescribed by a doctor.
Relational HealthYou don’t have to go it alone next time you lace up your hiking boots. Grab a friend, neighbor, or family member for more fun on the trail. Hiking with a partner, or even in a group, can improve the strength and health of your relationships. Because hiking ranges in difficulty from an extremely challenging climb to a casual way of spending time outside, it’s a great way to strengthen the friendships or bonds you have with your companions. Whether it’s with a younger sibling, neighborhood friend, or even a grandparent, hiking a trail together can bring you closer and help build a healthy relationship.
Take a HikeNational parks and their many health benefits are open to anyone, no matter who you are and where you come from. There are more than 400 national parks for you explore across the country, and each one presents its own unique opportunities for experiencing nature. Don’t be afraid to lace up your boots and grab a walking stick. The opportunities and benefits of hiking are waiting for you, all you have to do is go.
Last updated: May 29, 2018