Hiking has been found to help cleanse your soul, mind and body, as well as improve your brain health.
Hiking in Nature Helps Stop Obsessive, Negative Thoughts
Apart from the almost immediate feeling of contentment and calm that accompanies spending time outside, going for a walk in nature helps decrease rumination. You may find yourself consumed by negative thoughts, taking you out of the enjoyment of the moment as well as resulting in anxiety and depression.
However, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that hiking in nature could help greatly decrease negative thoughts.
Researchers made a comparison between the reported rumination of people that hiked in nature and people that hiked through an urban environment.
They concluded that people that walked for one and a half hour in the natural environment had lower rumination levels and lower neural activity in the area of the brain known as subgenual prefrontal cortex that is linked to mental health issues.
This means that removing yourself from urban settings on a regular basis and spending more time in nature can significantly benefit your physical and psychological health.
Hiking in Nature While Disconnected from Technology Help Boost Creative Thinking
A study carried out by psychologists David L. Strayer and Ruth Ann Atchley suggested that creative problem solving was enhanced by both spending time in nature and disconnecting from technology.
Namely, people that went backpacking through nature for 4 days without using any technology had a 50 percent improved performance on problem solving tasks.
The researchers concluded that both urban noise and technology are disruptive, because they demand your attention and prevent you from focusing, affecting your cognitive function.
On the other hand, hiking in nature helps boost creative thinking, decrease mental fatigue, and soothe your mind.
It’s an Incredible Exercise That Helps Boost Your Brainpower
It goes without saying that exercise is beneficial for your overall health. Hiking is a great method to burn between four to seven hundred calories within one hour, depending on the hike difficulty and your body weight, and it’s easier on your joints compared to other activities, including running.
What’s more, those that exercise outside tend to stick to their programs, meaning that hiking is a great option for people who want to become more active.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia concluded that aerobic exercise increased hippocampal volume — the part of the brain related to episodic and spatial memory — in women over the age of seventy. T
his means that it can help release endorphins, boost self esteem, decrease and prevent memory loss, and reduce anxiety and stress.
It May Also Benefit Everyone That Exhibits Impulsive Behavior or Has a Hard Time Paying Attention
Many kids suffer from ADHD. Kids with ADHD have a hard time with staying focused and impulse control. These exhibit excessive hyperactivity and get distracted easily.
Bringing up a child with ADHD is hard for most parents. In addition, the prescription drugs might do more harm than good. But, a study carried out by Andrea Taylor and Frances Kup showed that exposing kids with ADHD to “green outdoor activities” greatly decreased their symptoms.
These findings indicate that talking a walk in nature may benefit everyone that exhibits impulsive behavior or has a hard time paying attention.
So, Take a Hike in Nature on a Regular Basis
Hiking is among the least expensive and simplest sports to get involved in. Also, it may benefit your overall health. Test your abilities and start out small. Do what really works for you, even if it means simply walking through trails in a park.
While doing so, you should turn off your phone and your signal for maximum benefits. (But, you should carry it with you in case of emergency).
You should also have a water bottle, a hat, and good sturdy hiking shoes. Also, layer your clothing so you can take things off or on easily as you cool down or warm up. You can also use trekking poles, because they can take some of the pressure off your knees as well as improve your speed.