Wednesday, October 30, 2013
How hiking is good for body and mind
Hiking outdoors comes with a bounty of perks: nice views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature. Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that boasts all the health benefits of walking, including less risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer, as well as better blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Because hiking is a weight-bearing exercise - you're moving against gravity while staying upright - it boosts bone density and helps combat osteoporosis (thinning bones). Hiking is also good for muscle strength. The activity targets your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower leg muscles. It works your shoulders, strengthens your core, and improves balance. And hiking can help you control your weight. It's also a powerful mood booster. "Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety," says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. "Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that."