Incredible health benefits that will make you want to hit the trail especially in AWWtumn!
Hiking is both fun and good for you! Numerous studies have proven that regular physical activity not only improves our heart health and overall fitness, but also enhances our mental health, since exercise helps our brain in releasing chemicals like endorphins and serotonins which are responsible for improving our mental alertness, mood, and energy, thus making us more focused and happier. If you are someone who doesn’t like to hit the gym and prefer a more enjoyable way of exercising in the outdoors, then hiking is the perfect way to help you achieve the recommended 150-300 minutes of physical activity across the w1eek, as published by the World Health Organization. With uneven, rocky, and elevated hiking terrain routes, hiking will help you burn more calories increasing overall health and wellness.
The colourful autumn leaves, pleasant temperatures with a gentle breeze, chestnuts covered grounds, crunching leaves, and quiet trails are some of the reasons why autumn hiking is a must-do activity. The colours of autumn also have psychological benefits on us, since the colour of red is associated with feelings of passion, love, and power, whereas the colour of yellow is associated with feelings of positivity, freshness, happiness, and enlightenment.
What are the health benefits of hiking and why you should hit the trail ASAP!
- Improves Cardiovascular Health Moderate to high intensity aerobic activities can greatly help in improving your heart health. Hiking is a great way to improve blood circulation, decreasing bad cholesterol levels, keeping blood sugar levels under control, reducing high blood pressure, and improving the overall functioning of the heart.
- Improves Mental Health Exercising regularly can have a positive effect on your mental health and overall wellbeing. Outdoor exercises such as hiking can help in treating some mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. The colours of the leaves, fresh air, the chirping sound of the birds, and the beautiful views of nature have proven to reduce stress. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as social withdrawal and low self-esteem.
- Lowers the Risk of Alzheimer’s According to a news post published by CTV News Canada, exercising regularly can help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease by slowing the process of shrinkage in the hippocampus, which is the part of brain dealing with memory. Numerous studies have repeatedly proven a correlation between exercise and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Strengthens Immune System Hiking plays an important role in strengthening the immune system. Some factors including vitamin D, pollution-free air, and exercise can help fight viral and bacterial infections. As per an article published by Brunet Canada, moderate to high intensity exercise strengthens the immune system by improving blood circulation, thus enhancing the circulation of various immune system substances (antibodies and white blood cells) in the body. This effect can last up to several days after the exercise.
- Improves Metabolism Hiking helps in burning more calories than walking since it involves going through elevated and rocky terrain routes. Hiking gives our body a metabolism boost that lasts for several hours, thus helping in burning calories even while resting and helping our body avoid accumulation of fat.
- Helps Build Muscle Hiking is a great activity that helps in strengthening every major muscle group in the body including the hip muscles, glutes, calves, and hamstrings. While hiking, some people tend to use trekking poles or carry heavy back packs, that also contribute towards the strengthening and toning of the arm and back muscles.
With 329 provincial parks, 400 conservation areas and 292 conservation reserves to choose from you can be rest assured that your hiking trail possibilities in Ontario are endless. Join the over 800,000 Ontarians who regularly use hiking trails to reap the health, social, heritage and environmental benefits. Before you start any new exercise regimen, it is best to consult a healthcare provider.
Book an appointment to speak with a Meira Care virtual doctor from the comfort of your home to discuss your health and fitness goals. Our virtual health clinic is open 7 – days a week from 8am to 9pm.
Disclaimer: The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.