Hiking offers plenty of brilliant opportunities to explore stunning landscapes, undiscovered regions of the countryside and little known areas of natural beauty. Whatever your relationship is with the outdoors and wherever you love to go, we often forget that our favourite walking pastime is in fact a great way to keep fit. You may be aware of some of the more obvious rewards, so Waterman's have put together some of the lesser known benefits of hiking you may not know about...
Increases Bone Density
Bone density is something that tends to diminish the older we get and a lack of physical activity can play havoc with your bones, contributing to a weaker frame and making you far more prone to fractures. Getting active and doing anything physically demanding in the countryside will help maintain a healthy bone mass, along with a diet high in calcium and vitamin D - other than a healthy diet, hiking is going to provide your body with a lot of what your body needs.
Furthermore hiking activates many parts of the body that don't often get exercised- such as the hips, and muscles surrounding the knees and ankles as well as the joints themselves.
Improves Your Mood
Exercise has a brilliant ability to reset the mind; whatever your mood or whatever you've been through during the week, hiking is great for conditioning the body and mind. Physical activity releases natural endorphins - the hormone responsible for raising your mood - lowering stress and even alleviating symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Boosts Vitamin D Intake
Hiking is great for helping you meet your natural daily intake of Vitamin D.A vital component for you body that you can struggle to get enough of in the winter months, Vitamin D is necessary for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting brain function, nervous system and immune system as well as a range of other areas. If you suffer from depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder Vitamin D can also help you with a range of different mental health issues. So when you're outside and the sun hits yours skin you'll easily reach your daily intake for the day without the need for supplementation.
Develops Core Strength
Nowadays, most people tend to live fairly sedentary lifestyles and this causes our core muscles to become weakened over time. While you're out hiking, the strenuous physical activity combined with the heavy backpack and the fat-burning by-product will give your core a great workout - as fat is burned from the stomach area you'll find your abdominal become more visible at the same time.