As the world becomes more urbanized, some studies have shown practical benefits when you leave four walls to step outside and hiking with friends to boost health.
Let’s find out the benefits that hiking brings for your health!
Build bone density
Hiking is a form of weight-loss exercise, which means that your bones and muscles work hard to reduce your weight. It helps build or maintain bone density in the body, which is extremely important and important as we age.
Studies show that bone density decreases by about 1% per year after the age of 40. Hiking in a healthy natural environment can have a positive effect in helping to slow down this loss.
Another gift of hiking is bringing a healthy dose of vitamin D to your body from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and helps strengthen bones.
Improve sleep quality
According to the latest research, a long walk in nature not only provides a refreshing, restful nap, but can also improve the overall sleep quality.
In a study published in Current Biology in 2017, American researcher Kenneth Wright measured the sleep cycles of participants before and after a weekend camping trip.
During the trip, when members were only exposed to natural light (without electronics), melatonin levels in the body increased and their circadian clock moved earlier, also known as the hormone of darkness, maintains the circadian rhythm of the body. Research shows that when we are in nature, we regain the circadian rhythm of the natural sleep cycle.
Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, a chemical that creates positive feelings for the brain. However, hiking can improve our mood, much better than regular walks in the neighborhood.
Stanford University researcher Gregory Bratman conducted the study on 60 50-minute forest walkers or walk along paved roads. The results showed that hikers in nature experienced less anxiety and thoughtfulness, as well as more positive emotions than urban hikers.
Want to increase your happiness index? Go hiking with one or two friends. Interacting with people around you, especially those who are in close contact with you, is an important component of happiness and makes life better.
Vitamin D, which is absorbed directly outdoors, not only benefits bone health but also helps to fight depression.
Researchers in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at St Joseph’s Hospital, (Ontario, Canada) reviewed 14 studies for 31,000 participants to determine the correlation between depression and vitamin D deficiency.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, susceptibility, long-term healing, bone or muscle pain, and depression. Participants had significant improvements in depressive symptoms after being treated for vitamin D deficiency.
In an extensive study, Bratman and colleagues found that people who walked for 90 minutes increased activity in the prenatal cortex, a brain area associated with depression and anxiety when stopping exercise.