Hiking is good for the body and the mind

April 24, 2020

In a time when our social interactions are limited to FaceTime calls and our cities are virtually shut down, a lot of people have taken advantage of the beautiful hiking, biking, and walking trails that the Grand Valley has to offer. Hiking allows us to escape from the confinement of our homes and to explore the many features that make Grand Junction such a great place to live. It also has many health benefits ranging from the body’s physical shape to its positive effect on our mental health. Fruita Monument senior Sarah Pennick says, “Hiking is one of my favorite things to do around Grand Junction because I can be outside and relax.”Below is a list of all the reasons why you should get outside and go on a hike!

 

 

  • Hiking is good for your core

 

Taking a hike on uneven surfaces such as hills and rocks engages your core muscles and helps hone in your balance skills. This type of lateral motion is not usually something you can get from riding a bike or running on a treadmill. 

 

  • It improves your cardiovascular health

 

Hiking in uphill terrain causes your heart to work harder than it would on a normal walk. It is a great way to rev up your heart rate and get your muscles moving.

 

  • It’s a great way to cross-train

 

If you are an athlete such as a runner, swimmer, basketball player, or anything else, hiking provides a full-body workout that will help develop muscles that you may not use every day. It also exposes you to higher altitudes than you may be used to which helps you adapt to new environments. 

 

  • Going for a hike is a natural stress relief

 

According to a study done by researchers at Stanford University, hiking can reduce the likeliness of having depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many other disorders. Hiking will boost your mood and allow for some stress relief.

 

  • Nature can boost creative problem solving

 

Have you ever felt stuck on a problem you need an answer to? Hiking can help give you some mental clarity and open your head to new ideas. Getting a change of scenery and some time to yourself can help pull you out of a creative slump, not to mention the inspiration you may draw from being in the wilderness.   

 

Here are some tips for an enjoyable hike:

 

  • Wear proper footwear such as hiking boots or tennis shoes

 

This will help prevent an injury from falling or tripping and will keep your feet protected from rocks and other things along your hike. 

 

  • Hike with a partner and have a map of the trail

 

Hiking with someone else is a safer option because you will have someone to help you if you get into a difficult or unsafe situation, and having a map of the trail will help prevent you from getting lost.

 

  • Stay Hydrated

 

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before your hike so you’re not dehydrated, and pack enough water while hiking, especially in warm, sunny weather. 

 

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