If you’re like most people these days, your world has gone through a massive shift. Lately, we’re all working online, learning online, talking to our friends online, and even enjoying recreation online through virtual events and Netflix binges. Chances are, your brain and your eyeballs need a major break from being fixed on a screen!
Now, more than ever is a great time to take up hiking. If you’ve never tried it before or just aren’t sure if the great outdoors is really for you, here are three reasons why you should lace up some boots and head outside for a walk.
Many gyms are closed right now so a lot of people are having to get creative to stay in shape and avoid putting on that “COVID 15”. One great way to get a complete workout in is going on a hike. Walking quickly up steep, hilly trails is sure to get your heart pumping, and cardio exercise reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Hiking is also a weight-bearing activity -the more challenging the trail, the more you’ll work your lower body, build strength, and tone your muscles.
And in this world where we spend a lot of time indoors, hiking out in the sunshine will give you a much-needed boost of vitamin D. This is especially important right now as some studies have shown that patients admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 with vitamin D deficiencies were more likely to die of the disease.
Hiking is also wonderful for your mental health, something we could all use a boost of in these times of increased uncertainty. Any exercise will decrease your stress, and hiking does double-duty because just being out in nature has been shown to “reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase […] attention capacity, creativity, and […] ability to connect with other people.” That’s a lot of benefits!
Hiking can also benefit you by giving you some space to clear your head. If you, like many people, are quarantined with members of your household 24/7, it’s important to take a break and carve out some time for yourself. While you’re hiking, you also won’t be bombarded with the constant stream of information and data that you’re forced to process all day on the computer. This chance to clear your head will help you recover from decision fatigue, work out problems, and boost your creativity.
Safe Activity to Do with Friends
That meditative state you can reach when hiking alone is awesome, but it doesn’t mean you should always hike alone. If you’re trying to find safe ways to see your friends, hiking is a perfect option. As we all know, it’s not recommended right now to spend time indoors with people outside of your household, and with the cold weather of winter, it’s not enjoyable to meet your friends for a picnic or other sedentary outdoor activity. With hiking, you and your friends can get to see each other in person, safely, while moving to stay warm! It’s a win-win situation.
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