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Hiking & Trail Running

11 Reasons Why You Should Go Hiking In Nature This Weekend

Going on a hike is of course fun but it’s also awesome for your health. Here’s some science to prove it

Hiking is fun and is a great travel experience, but walking is also an awesome way to immerse yourself in nature for a day; and a super easy microadventure that you can have on the weekend, to escape the grind and refresh the hell out of yourself for Monday morning.

Still need convincing? Here are 10 nuggets of science that very much prove it’s time to get your hike on.

Credit: iStock/Onfokus

1. Hiking makes you happy

It can: “Improve your mood, decrease your anxiety and even improve your memory.” According to this 2014 Stanford University study, quoted in the LA Times.

Credit: John Phoenix Hutchinson

2. Hiking can ward off depression

A new study, also mentioned by the LA Times, says: “A 90 minute stroll in a natural environment can lead to measurable benefits for the brain, and may help combat depression.”

Though you need to hike while immersed in nature, as the scientists did not find the same benefits when hikers walked by a busy road with lots of traffic.

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3. Hiking makes you less stressed

This 2014 study, quoted in Outside, also found that going for a long walk combatted depression, while also helping people “mitigate the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress.”

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4. It helps you solve problems

“Spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.” According to a 2012 study, cited by the Huffington Post.

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5. It boosts memory

“After just an hour interacting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20%,” according to this 2008 University of Michigan study, cited in this Guardian piece.

Credit: iStock/Misha Kaminsky

6. It helps you think more creatively

Scientists in 2014 showed that walking rather than sitting was key for new idea generation.

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7. Hiking gets you fit

Especially if you hike briskly, making it a great low impact cardio activity. For those that care about calories, hiking will help you burn around 500 calories an hour.

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8. It is good for heart health

It will lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, according to the American Hiking Society.

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By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Gian Marco Castelberg & Maurice Haas

9. Hiking at altitude is especially good for your heart

So say the researchers involved in this University of Athens study.

Credit: iStock

10. Hiking by the sea is especially good for you

Scientists are showing that the blue spectrum colours of the sea relax us, and people who live by the sea are healthier than those who don’t according to this 2012 study.

Credit: iStock/Swiss Media Divison

11. Walking with friends and family is the best thing of all

As having strong social networks and hobbies you do with friends and family will help you live longer, as the research in this Time piece shows.

Happy hiking!

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