There is plenty of information out there telling us that hiking is good for us. It’s a great form of exercise, reduces your risk of heart disease, can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps prevent type II diabetes. The list of physical benefits goes on and on, but we all know health is more than cardio, strength training, and numbers. Here is a list of positive effects hiking has on the mind:
1) Hiking clears the mind and reduces stress – Going for a hike reduces blood pressure and cortisol levels, producing a calming effect.
2) Hiking makes us happier – Getting out into nature reduces “rumination,” which are negative thought patterns that play over and over in your head.
3) Hiking reduces anxiety – Hiking has been proven to reduce anxiety by quieting the mind and allowing you to zone in on your breathing to a part meditative state.
4) Hiking makes us more generous – After a hike, we always return home with a renewed appreciation for mother nature. This increases positive emotions, which makes us feel a heightened sense of gratefulness and increases our generosity towards others.
5) Hiking helps us to live in the moment – During a hike, you are engulfed in nature, which allows you to be truly present in the moment. This will also give you time to reflect, recharge, and reconnect with yourself. Having this time to yourself may also help you identify if you are feeling under the weather or have been more stressed than usual.
Beyond the physical and mental benefits hiking has to offer us, it also increases our connection to nature. One study has suggested that when we have a personal connection to nature, we are more likely to want to protect it. Therefore, hiking becomes mutually beneficial to us humans and to planet Earth.
The Impact Newsletter would love for you to share pictures of your hiking adventures along with a description of your hiking trail, personal experience, or a quote if you choose. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post your pics on the NCBC blog and your picture may also be featured in our next Impact Newsletter!