It is yet another lazy Sunday morning. And we are slumped in our bean bag chair under that pile of chips and dirty clothes. This lazy fiesta is not just our fault. Staying indoors and within the confines of this concrete jungle can put anyone’s brain and spirit in the snooze mode.
One of the best ways to break free from this crawling pace of life is by going for a quick hike to the nearest green patch. Just gather a few interested friends and family members to hike along with and give an energetic turn to everyone’s day. We can also do it solo where it might serve as a nice quality time we are able to spend with nature and ourselves after a long time.
The Secret Benefits Of Hiking On Your Mind
There is a reason that people are not as excited to hear the word gym as they are to hear the word desserts. Better yet, make the latter free and see the crowd go hysterical!
While these delicious desserts have that irresistible sugar rush appealing to everyone, the gyms don’t possess such alluring aspects. There is that obvious heath gain with regular gymming but the road till there is a steep uphill journey.
This is where hiking comes to our rescue. The beauty of nature fascinates everyone. There is something so calming and fulfilling about being in the presence of those tall trees and endless green cover that every activity related to it becomes blissful. The many ways hiking can benefit us are as follows:
1. Boosts Brainpower
The indoor exercises seem to be the more accessible solution in the congested urban streets. But in reality, a hike across the river bend is not as difficult as we take it to be. Even the concrete jungles are required to have a regular spacing of green patches throughout them.
And the nearest hillock or window to Nature is not too far from our humble abodes. Once we are out there, we realize how much we were missing out on being indoors and surrounded by HD screens. It is actually outside that the real joys of life lie.
Often we find ourselves unable to enjoy even the happiest of the moments. That barrier towards our perpetual state of happiness is broken once we start visiting the greener side of the town more often.
The stress, depression and plenty of other mental and physical ailments clogging up our brain along with the body just melt away. And this gives us a ticket to our fresh start.
Before we take care of our body, it is important to ensure that our brain is doing fine too. In fact, it is only with a fighting fit brain that we can actually take on day-to-day challenges. And that makes hiking one of the best exercises for mind and body.
Hiking is an outdoor activity which gives us that rushing endorphin boost every single time we step out. In fact, according to the recent studies, it has been shown to reduce and even prevent memory loss in women above 70.
The benefits of hiking stretch from the youth to the old age alike. It is one of those good habits that serve us well from our youth until the end of the tunnel. Being way gentler on the joints and recreational, it is one of the select few outdoor activities that add interesting chapters to our story with every single session.
2. Minimize The Effects Of ADHD In Children
The smartphones and social platforms give us a new thing to focus on every other second. And that is why the attention span of the average human today has diminished considerably. And this phenomenon gets even worse with kids as more and more children are being diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
For every mental and physical trouble that the kids and the adults suffer from, we have a medication. That seems to the simpler and conventional way of doing things. But in the process, we forget that there can be a more effective yet simpler way of doing things too.
Often it is just a few regular trips to somewhere green and fresh that is able to free us from our stale state of mind. In case of more severe disorders such as ADHD, nature won’t be able to fix it all in just one day. But as compared to heavy medication, regular hiking trips is still a far better option.
Beneficial Green Outdoor Activities
According to a recent study conducted by the Frances E Kuo, Ph.D., and Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D.; a corresponding reduction in the symptoms occurred when the kids were regularly exposed to green cover via activities such as hiking.
This practice is also beneficial in reducing the stress and impulsive behavior tremendously. Kids who have a tough time focusing on something and suffer from excessive hyperactivity can see drastic improvement by going for a hike every weekend with their family and friends.
The prescription medication should be the last resort while trying to treat such problems because most of the times a balanced state of mind can be achieved by tweaking the daily schedule and diet in the right manner.
3. Creative Problem Solving Boost
The psychologist duo Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer recently conducted a study to examine the effect of disconnecting from the technological port every once in a while. The participants were asked to carry out their excursion with zero technological connection.
Then they were given a series of tasks that involved using creative thinking and complex problem-solving skills. As it turns out, the performance of the participants improved by a whopping 50 percent margin. They were able to fare a lot better in a variety of tasks as compared to when they were given all the latest technological tools as the aid.
This study made an important point that is it important to reconnect with nature and disconnect with the technology completely at regular intervals. This practice helps in keeping us sane both mentally and spiritually.
Here’s the full study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3520840/
Noticeable Reduction in Mental Fatigue
We, humans, have progressed immensely in the last few decades in terms of technology. The virtual experience is getting closer to the reality day by day. And sometimes we get caught up in this illusion so much that we forget what is real and what is just a technological mirage.
The disruptive capabilities of the urban noise and technology bubble often go unnoticed. Usually, it is already too late when we start noticing the symptoms of what is going on deep down the surface. But even then we can take comfort in the embrace of nature and start feeling like our old self in a reasonable amount of time.
The attention-hungry apps and videos are always there to feed on our mental sanity. Hence, it is advisable to use the technology in a balanced amount and not go crazy with its use. It might be hard to fight the siren call of the addictive social media. But, a little discipline can help us in tackling it quite well.
4. Freedom from Negativity
A recent study conducted by the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ found out that spending a good amount of time in nature regularly give us freedom from the obsessive negative thoughts to a great extent. Even when we step outside from the confines of our low-on-energy indoors just for few minutes, the outside world always fills us with that effervescent glow.
And the farther we drift towards the greenery and fresh atmosphere, the better we feel about ourselves. This is an exercise that feels more like a getaway to someplace nice and exciting. Usually, we have to push ourselves for all kinds of exercises within the confines of the gym.
But once we explore the wonders of hiking, there is no turning back from there. For the first time, our world starts to feel so fresh and alive after a very long time. And we need to make sure that we don’t let go of that feeling anytime soon. That is why the hikers are so passionate about their weekly or even daily hikes.
Better Defence Against Medical Illness
It is very important to remove ourselves regularly from the urban environment for psychological and physical well-being. A reduced neural activity is registered at the subgenual prefrontal cortex while hiking through the natural setting. This part of the brain is where the symptoms of mental illness appear first.
Prolonged and uninterrupted exposure to the urban landscape can cause severe stress and anxiety to the individuals. They are more prone to serious mental ailments. And their ability to cope with day-to-day challenges also diminish greatly.
All these problems can be solved in an easy and efficient manner with the help of outdoor activities preferably in the lap of nature. Hiking and few team-oriented outdoor sports can help us to ease up and build a tough resistance to the toxins of city life.
5. Hiking Boosts Happiness
No one looks forward to their treadmill run over the weekend or any day in general. It is something we do because we think it is good for us because that has been told to us by bazillion gyms in the neighborhood. The global gym franchises further do a fine job of brainwashing us into believing that exercising within a matchbox every day is good for our health.
But once, by mistake, if we try the wonders of hiking solo or with someone, our world starts making sense again. We realize why we hate exercising so much even though it is good for us. We soon realize is actually breathing in the stale air while working out in a matchbox that we hate.
That leads us to the realization that we are not as self-destructive when it comes to our health. We can and actually do enjoy hiking the nature trails. It actually makes us happy! As it is supposed to. We no longer hate the mornings because that is now our cherished hiking time.
Intense Endorphin Rush
It is all about the mental state and how we perceive things. We are so far removed from the natural cover that the daily life hardly makes any sense anymore. Everything seems robotic and artificial to a great extent. From the food we eat to the view we see, everything seems to be lacking that certain depth.
But one hike across the nearest hillock and we realize how important a connection with nature is in our lives. There are so many distractions and obstacles that prevent us from reaching out to our happiness. And most of the people forget to even look for this happiness after a while.
But the lucky ones like you who are reading this detailed account are definitely going to rediscover that excitement and happiness in their lives. Just a few hikes will be sufficient to make us all realize that even just an hour every day surrounded by the best of nature can turn our day around.
Exercises don’t have to be boring and exhausting. With hiking and similar activities that are done outside close to the green horizons, we are happier and more energetic by the end of each session. There is something about being out in the open. It enlivens the body, mind, and spirit. So why not to get started right away!
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