Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that hiking can help improve your physical health. Hiking gets your heart rate up, provides you with an excellent cardiovascular workout, and gets you breathing fresh, clean air.
According to WebMD, hiking helps to build muscle, increase bone density, strengthen your core, improve balance, and control your weight. It can significantly lower your risk for several types of disease, and it can even help you sleep better!
The Surprising Additional Benefits of Hiking
Did you know the benefits of hiking go WAY beyond just the health perks? Taking a walk in the woods to unplug and burn some calories not only makes your body healthier, it can improve your mental and emotional health too.
As you focus on the natural beauty of your surroundings, your cares melt away. Your body releases tension as you move along the trail. Problems seem less daunting. After an hour or two hiking, you’ll likely feel calmer and more grounded.
In addition to just boosting your mood and general sense of well-being, hiking can even lead you to up-level your life in ways you might not have expected! Here are four additional benefits of hiking that might surprise you.
1. Hiking Releases Stress & Anxiety
If you’ve ever enjoyed a weekend hike after a challenging week at work, you know that one of the emotional health benefits of hiking is that it releases stress and anxiety. Getting exercise in the great outdoors is a fantastic way to replenish the mind and spirit.
I know when I’m going through a rough time, I just don’t feel like myself. The pressure I put on myself to succeed or simply conquer my daily to-do list can leave me feeling overwhelmed and irritable – which I know isn’t “me”.
Heading outside for a hike helps me connect with who I really am – relaxed, happy, and alive. Think about it – as babies, we’re innately joyful, curious, and playful – not stressed, worried, and burnt out. One of the most amazing benefits of hiking is that it simply helps us be more of who we were meant to be!
2. Hiking Improves Confidence
Exploring the great outdoors on foot offers many opportunities to boost your confidence. Taking on a new challenge such as bagging a peak or embarking on your first solo hike might feel scary, but there’s nothing quite like stepping out of your comfort zone and proving to yourself what you’re made of.
In fact, building your confidence and self-esteem through hiking can have a positive ripple effect throughout other areas of your life. That “I did it!” feeling you get from finishing a hard hike can help you navigate other types of challenges too.
Whether you’re going for a promotion, starting a business, or asking your crush out on a date, hiking shows you what you’re capable of. Accomplishing something that previously felt hard can not only be addicting – it can empower you to go big in other life areas too!
3. Hiking Quiets the Mind & Helps You Find Answers
Hitting the trail is a fantastic way to slow down the incessant chatter that most of us have going on inside us throughout our waking hours. Similar to meditation, hiking helps you live in the present moment and creates mental whitespace.
What happens when you relax your mind and create this spaciousness? You make room for answers to come. Creativity flows and you can tune into your intuition more easily. Ideas you never considered before might pop into your brain out of nowhere.
You have guidance within you, and access to answers you never knew were there. Make the space to hear the whispers, you’ll be blown away by what you discover.
4. Hiking Can Help You Manifest Incredible Things into Your Life
No matter what kind of life you want to create – whether you want to travel the world and become a digital nomad, start a non-profit for rescue dogs, or attract your soulmate into your life, spending time in the great outdoors can help you manifest these dreams.
In addition to helping you access answers you didn’t even know you had inside, hiking raises your vibe (aka your emotional state). When you spend more of your time in this high-vibe space, you start to align with the things and experiences that you want to manifest.
This might look like you “coincidentally” getting introduced to someone who works for your dream company. You might spontaneously decide to take a different route to work and realize your favorite house went on the market at a killer price. Or perhaps you “stumble upon” a new product idea for your business that ends up exploding.
Whatever the dream, hiking and getting out into nature on a regular basis can help you consistently up-level your vibe. And spending time in this good-feeling place will open you up to seeing the path that connects where you are now and where you want to be!
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