It seems like a big deal to climb the heights, and walk through not so smooth paths with endless upwards and downwards. In fact, it really isn’t! If one were to compare what it takes to go on hiking, and what it can give you in response, the results outweigh the investments. This is not just a hypothetical idea but truly experimented and proved by experts. Doctors and psychologists from different institutions have conducted experiments that demonstrated important key points about the effects of hiking, that we’d like to share with you today.
Hiking in nature results in positive mood and thoughts.
The feeling of endless happiness and joy, the adrenaline and dopamine that run through your body when in nature are not just coincidences. A recent study that was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America showed that being exposed to nature periodically has a great effect on rumination. People who went on a 90 minute walk had a decreased level of neural activity in part of the brain that may lead to the risk of mental health issues. The same experiment done among people who walked in urbanized places, had much higher levels of rumination and stress. Scientists refer nature as a non-medical and more effective way of health treatment.
Hiking in nature boosts higher cognitive brain functions.
Psychologists Ruth Atchley, Paul Atchley, and David Strayer did an experiment to prove the point. Participants of the experiment were immersed in nature for four days and were not allowed to use any electronic devices. These group of hikers’ brain performance of creativity and problem solving showed higher levels than when hikers were exposed to technology on daily basis. It’s a legit reason to get some walk in nature to clear your mind and actually find solutions to the problems that you were struggling on for a long time.
Hiking helps to reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
Medications are not always the solutions to health problems. People get overwhelmed by the amount of pills that they have to take daily, not even considering about the solutions that the mother nature has given to them. ADHD is a health condition threatening mostly children, that causes loss of focus and hyperactivity. Well, psychologists found the solution to ease the symptoms of ADHD, suggesting to spend more time in green nature. According to the research results done by Frances E. Kuo, PhD and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD., parents saw less symptoms of ADHD in their kids, when they were exposed to nature, in contrast to being in urban places. The experiment is a huge treasure in medical field, as it shows an alternative way of treating this health condition.
Go hiking as you’d go to gym. Really.
Hiking is itself a great exercise for the body. It helps to fight with overweight problems, as it’s like a fat burning machine. Researchers have not skipped to prove this point either. They got together 86 women, aged 70-80 years old with a probable mild cognitive impairment (step preceding dementia), and randomly assigned them to a 6 month training program. By the end of the program participants had improved levels of memory and hippocampal volume. So, it’s not just about calories burnt or muscle strength. Hiking and exercising overall are the keys to keep mind and body in healthy harmony.
How to push yourself out of the sofa and start hiking?
There’s no how, or when. It’s now and just like that! There’s no secret code on how to hike. All it needs is a good location for hiking, ready to walk legs, and maybe a companion, in case you need to be carried on last minutes. Oh, and turn off your phones, hear the nature calling.