Are there benefits of trekking? What are health related benefits of hiking or trekking?
Trekking is loved by people from all walks of life, not only for the beautiful scenery, but for the physical challenge as well. The combination of pushing your body to the limits, paired with awe-inspiring natural surroundings, is exactly what makes trekking so special.
Of course, trekking being the arduous journey that it is means that a good amount of fitness is needed. But don’t worry – treks range in difficulty from beginner, to intermediate and advanced levels.
This means you can start with shorter treks, and ultimately work your way toward longer ones. Alongside the journey to fitness, you will begin to notice and experience a wide range of health benefits.
What Are The Health Related Benefits of Hiking or Trekking
Since trekking and hiking are considered outdoor activities and make our bodies active, they have many health benefits. Here are the top 9 benefits:
1. Trekking Boosts the Immune System
Trekking boosts the immune system by causing changes to white blood cells and antibodies. White blood cells make up the physical immune system cells and are known to combat disease.
Trekking demands regular training, which could take the form of any type of cardio or aerobic activity. In light of the fact that regular exercise boosts the body’s immune system, trekking can assist in combatting infections too.
Exercise increases blood flow and encourages the immune cells to perform optimally.
2. Enhanced Longevity
As the old Tibetan proverb goes, “The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.” It seems the saying holds some merit because according to Harvard University, only 15 minutes of exercise per day can enhance longevity by up to three years.
With this in mind, it should go without saying that training for trekking will increase life span dramatically. Even beginner trekkers should be training at least three times a week for an hour, with advanced trekkers training daily.
3. Increased Energy Levels
Studies have revealed that regular exercise (such as training for trekking) can boost energy levels and combat fatigue. In fact, it is believed that walking and other forms of exercise are more beneficial in increasing energy levels than even a nap.
New research has found that this holds true even among people who suffer from chronic conditions, many of which are known to cause fatigue. Although training might be the last thing you feel like doing when depleted, exercise has been shown to offer relief.
4. Enhanced Quality of Sleep
On the other side of the spectrum, strenuous exercise is known to improve the quality of sleep. From falling asleep faster, to stay asleep longer, studies have revealed that exercise does it all. This is good news for those suffering from sleeping disorders, as trekking can really help.
The amount of fatigue experienced not only during training but throughout the trek itself, is highly conducive to sleep. The challenge of pushing the body beyond the limits enhances sleep in more ways than one, as exercise is known to reduce anxiety levels.
5. Improved Mood
It has been proven that regular exercise boosts the mood, reducing mood-disorders like anxiety and depression. By releasing the chemical serotonin into the brain, training for trekking promotes a relaxed disposition. The reduction of stress has a two-fold benefit, with stress a known precursor to hundreds of health conditions.
As a result, a balanced mood is good for overall health, including sleep disorders and heart disease. The cherry on top of the cake is the experience of the heightened mood itself, which some trekkers describe as “euphoric.”
6. Strengthens Bones and Muscles
Weight-bearing exercises, like trekking, hiking, jogging and climbing the stairs, are excellent for strengthening the bones. Alternative exercises, like bicycling and swimming, are not the optimal means for developing bone strength.
This is because weight-bearing exercises require the bones and muscles to push against gravity. When it comes to trekking itself, the rugged terrain and steep inclines support the development of bones and muscles. Cardio improves circulation, meaning that all bone and muscle cells are pumped with healthy oxygen.
7. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Not only does exercise improve blood circulation, but it strengthens the heart as well. With the increase in blood flow caused by exercise, oxygen levels in the body are raised.
This reduces the risk of heart diseases like coronary artery disease, cholesterol and heart attacks.
Regular exercise is also known to lower triglyceride levels, as well as blood pressure. In order to reap these benefits, it is recommended to train for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Alternatively, you could exercise for 60 minutes a day, three times a week.
According to Miyazaki, a physiological anthropologist and vice director of Chiba University’s Center for Environment, Health, and Field Sciences, hiking in outdoors for twenty minutes lowers your heart rate by 5.8 percent.
Hiking on a regular basis can help you quickly lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. According to research, taking one 3-hour trek each week results in a healthier heart and a lower risk of stroke.
Hiking also can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 10 points and minimize your chance of developing serious health problems.
8. Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery and exercise go hand in hand, with studies revealing an undeniable link. Many addicts (cigarette smokers included) struggle to find a replacement for the ‘crutches’ in their lives.
As a result, it is often recommended to find a new hobby such as exercise. With its mood-boosting properties and physical healing benefits, exercise is the best way to beat any addiction.
What’s more is that trekking is so enjoyable, that you can even find joy and relaxation in this healthy hobby.
9. Trekking and Hiking Maintains Body Weight
Hiking may burn anything from 440 to 550 calories each hour. A 3-hour trek may burn more than 1200 calories if you weigh approximately 160 pounds. You can efficiently burn 1-1.5 days’ worth of calories if you do this twice a week.
In greater detail, a 175-pound person who hikes three times a week for 120 minutes may lose around 1 pound per week.
The Bottom Line
Although it is a well-known fact that regular exercise is good for your health, in modern times it can be hard to find the time.
Fortunately, it is never too late to start, and you can begin slowly, with walks and hikes, ultimately working your way towards a trek.
To get the most benefit out of your training, you should aim to exercise at least three times a week for a period of one hour. This is half an hour longer than the bare minimum – five sessions of thirty minutes per week.
By putting your mind to it, you too can reap the rewards that trekking and regular exercise have to offer. From enhanced sleep and a boosted immune system to a longer life span and reduced risk of disease, the health benefits of trekking are worth taking note of.
To summarize, what are health related benefits of hiking or trekking:
- Trekking Boosts the Immune System
- Enhanced Longevity
- Enhanced Quality of Sleep
- Increased Energy Levels
- Improved Mood
- Strengthens Bones and Muscles
- Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
- Addiction Recovery