You don’t have to be a back-to-nature type to enjoy the many health benefits and sense of wellbeing that comes from hiking. From an urban park to a mountain trail, hiking is as diverse as those who partake in it. Flat hikes, incline hikes and everything in-between insure that the hiker never becomes bored with his or her terrain. Hiking carries with it the benefit of also being economical. No fancy gym membership dues to pay. Just put on your hiking shoes and hit the trail that most inspires you.
Hiking doesn’t require any special equipment outside of a good, solid, comfortable pair of shoes. Unlike surfing, rock climbing or tennis, hiking doesn’t have a steep learning curve, a requirement that you be athletic, or lessons that need to be taken before you can hit the trail. Anyone from the most athletic to a couch potato, the most coordinated to a klutz can master hiking. All you really have to do is get out there and do it.
A quick Internet search or poll of your friends should reveal good hiking trails near where you live. Being out in the fresh air and sunshine is a respite from daily life that few people take, but would benefit greatly from it.
As mentioned, hiking is a great activity for all fitness levels. It is great exercise no matter what level it is performed at. As one becomes more accustomed to walking and the rougher terrain that some trails have, the intensity level can be increased, the time one hikes can be lengthened - - the workout can be constantly adjusted to be invigorating, interesting, and a great way of getting in that all important cardiovascular exercise.
Hiking can help shed excess weight, prevent or control diabetes, contribute to overall bone health and prevent hypertension and high blood pressure. Hiking on a regular basis can improve arthritis and relieve back pain – a great antidote to a full time desk job. Doctors and other health professionals are always telling us to get up and move to be healthy. Hiking is a great activity for all ages, health and fitness levels. Hiking is also great for mental health. Exercise alone is known to raise serotonin levels in the body, which help to improve your overall mood and outlook on life. Plus, just taking the time out of your busy day to enjoy nature, to see the world from a different vantage point can have wonderful effects on your perspective on everyday problems and your life.