Last Updated on 03/07/2022
14 Benefits Of Hiking Once A Week
In this article, we will explain the benefits of hiking once a week. You will learn that, not only is hiking outdoors a fun activity, but it is an excellent way to improve your general bodily health, your physical fitness, and your mental wellbeing.
Hiking keeps the body healthy, by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Hiking also promotes good brain functioning and improved mental health.
Hiking is also an excellent way to make friends, explore your local area, and connect with your family or with yourself. Here at Gear Assistant, we go hiking as often as we can!
What Are the Health Benefits of Hiking Once a Week?
There are many health benefits to hiking once a week, here are four of the most important:
Hiking Improves Your Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Hiking is a powerful cardio/ aerobic workout which means that your heart rate will increase, which will make your heart stronger, improve your blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by up to 35% according to the British Heart Foundation.
Hiking Reduces Risk of Disease
According to the American Hiking Society, hiking can reduce the risk of diseases such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, Arthritis, and Hypertension. Other research shows it can even reduce the risk of some cancers.
Hiking Improves Brain Health
Hiking can promote gray matter growth and thickness in key regions of the brain. It’s also been found that aerobic activity such as hiking can improve neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain’s ability to make new neural connections.
Improves Mental Health
As well as the physiological benefits of hiking, it also has huge benefits on your mental health. Hiking can reduce stress, lower anxiety, and improve symptoms of depression.
What Are the Fitness Benefits of Hiking Once a Week?
There are a lot of fitness benefits to hiking once a week, here are the five with the biggest impact:
Hiking Once a Week Will Reduce Body Fat and Control Weight
Hiking is a type of exercise that will burn fat all over your body, including your legs and belly. Hiking once a week would also be a good way to lose weight as a hike is typically at least 2-3 hours long, which is the minimum recommendation for weight loss.
Strengthen Bones by Boosting Bone Density
Your bones become weaker and less flexible as you age. As hiking is a low-impact form of exercise, it can strengthen the bones by increasing bone density and slowing the rate of calcium loss, also lowering the chance of breakages.
Things that can help reduce the impact on your joints are braces and supports or hiking poles.
Increases Muscle Tone and Strength
When hiking, you are working your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, abs, and hip muscles. As all these muscles are constantly engaged when hiking, you will increase muscle mass, strengthen muscles in your legs and hips and also tighten muscles in your core.
Strengthens Core and Improves Balance
As you engage a lot of postural muscles while you hike, increased core strength is an outcome of hiking. The natural terrain of outdoor hiking results in built-in balance challenges and then your backpack and natural inclines create added resistance, making your body and balance stronger.
Better Stamina and Endurance
Hiking is a great way of building up stamina and endurance; stamina refers to the mental and physical ability to sustain an activity whereas endurance is the physical capability of sustaining an activity. You will naturally improve both when you hike regularly.
What Are Some Other Advantages to Hiking Once a Week?
There are many more advantages to going hiking once a week, here are five that can really help:
It’s a Versatile and Healthy Hobby
As hiking is a low-impact sport, it is easier on the body because there is less impact on the joints or ligaments as much as running for example. And because there are many trails with different elevations or distances, it is a very versatile hobby.
It’s a Good Way of Making Friends or Staying Social
Many cities have hiking groups that will go away on weekends together. And because hiking is such an accessible and inexpensive hobby, it attracts big groups of people of mixed abilities and all walks of life, which is always interesting.
It’s an Excellent Way of Exploring and Discovering Your Local Area
The best way I discovered my local area and the trails around me was by joining a hiking group that did activity-packed weekends away throughout the year. It was a fantastic way of learning about the trails near me and now when friends come to visit, I know where to take them!
It’s a Fun Activity to Do as a Group
Because hiking is so versatile, you can cater to all ages and abilities, so it is an excellent activity to do as a family or with friends. Bring a picnic and games, or better yet, find a lovely lake and do some wild swimming!
It’s a Fun Activity to Do Solo
Hiking can be a really peaceful and enjoyable solo activity, as long as you take precautions such as packing enough food and water, checking you will have a cell phone signal, and letting someone know when to expect you home. Hiking alone can feel really mindful as it allows you to connect with yourself without the distractions of urban life, people, or social media.
How Often Should You Hike?
If you are anything like us you should hike as often as possible or have time for. In an ideal world, you would hike at least once or twice a week. Realistically, however, once a week or once every few weeks would help you see the benefits we have outlined above.
Once you have built up some endurance and stamina, you could increase the number of hikes, the length of the hike, or the difficulty of the hike.
Hiking once a week has undeniably great benefits, such as maintaining heart health, increasing your strength and muscle tone, as well as improving your physical, mental, and cognitive health.
So why not pick up your walking boots and find your nearest trail?