Hiking is Healthy
Hiking for Health-the easy way is my favourite method for maintaining cardiovascular health. Hiking is an easy way to control your weight and stay in shape.
Have you seen what’s happening in our cities lately?
It’s hard to believe that the world is not coming to an end, until you get off the couch, and spend a few hours in the great outdoors, listening to the birds sing, or watch a small white butterfly float over a field of summer flowers.
I’m not big on the couch potato lifestyle. I love being out of doors, even when the weather isn’t bright and sunny. Why go hiking? … Where should I begin?
There are so many reasons to go outside, that you can make them up as you go. Here are 11 reasons that I use to justify my need to get outside and play.
Hiking is the easiest activity that you can participate in, other than breathing. Anyone can hike, especially if you have no physical impediments affecting your ability to walk.
If hiking sounds too intimidating for you at the moment, just go out for a walk.
Keep walking until you convince yourself that you are hiking.
There is no easier form of physical exercise than hiking. The benefits of hiking are well known and are all based on proven science.
Improved heart rates, stronger lungs, and better blood circulation are only the beginning. Increased energy levels, improved mental attitudes, lower rates of depression, and better social interaction, are other benefits attributed to hiking.
Hiking is a low-impact sport, so it’s easy to get started, even without prior intensive training or expertise. No warm-ups required. It is the warm-up, and the exercise, all rolled up in one complete package. It’s also easy to control the level of intensity, and the duration of time spend on this activity. It is also more forgiving as you age.
Nature displays all of God’s creations that are not man-made. Whether you prefer animals and birds, or rivers and lakes, it’s an all-inclusive package, free of charge.
Hiking is not always about climbing up the side of a mountain or struggling through an insect-infested jungle.
A pleasant walk in a city park, a walk along the beach, and a walk around the lake is also part of Hiking 101.
The more miles you spend on the trails, the greater your appreciation of the nuances that Nature has to offer.
4. Stress Relief
If watching the nightly news, or following the latest trends on social media, haven’t driven you over the edge yet, give hiking a try, before it does.
5. Birds or Mammals
One of the joys of hiking is the opportunity to see an endless variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Early evening walks are an opportunity to see the setting sun, and you may even get to see bats, coming out to do their part, to get rid of those pesky insects.
Some planets appear in the early evening, depending on their position in the sky, at that time of year.
Venus is such an example, and Mercury, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, are all visible to the naked eye. The stars and constellations, shooting stars, and let’s not forget the full moons that illuminate the night.
Hiking can introduce you to a new hobby. Astronomy, Birding or Photography are only some of the many examples that can be paired with hiking.
What else can you do today without spending a dime? I’m chuckling inside, at the thought of spending a dime. I’m not sure if I can buy anything for a dime anymore? You can go on a hike without spending an arm and a leg.
As a matter of fact, you likely have a comfortable pair of shoes and loose clothing on your person right now. If so, you are fully equipped, and ready to go. No credit card required.
Become an intrepid adventurer-explorer, in your own mind. Who is going to know? No need to tell anyone about your inner thoughts. Exploration will take you away from the daily grind in minutes, and you will return home refreshed and relaxed.
Find out more about the city or town you live in. When was your town or city incorporated? When did the first people settle there? What brought them there? Some towns in my province were built because of the gold rush. When was their heyday and why did it die at the end of their gold rush?
History is all around us, and all these places have fascinating stories to tell us. All of this can be explored for a small fee and many times for no fees at all. There are parks galore, in every province, state, or country, in the world.
Heritage sites are another excellent way to find out how people lived years ago, and how we got to where we are today. All of this pairs well with Hiking.
8. Meet New People
Some hikers head for the hills to relax and get away from it all. Most major cities and towns have hiking clubs, that can help you get started once you feel ready. Doing fun stuff in Nature, with people that share similar interests can be a rewarding experience.
Sharing hobbies can lead to new goals and greater personal fulfillment.
I walk almost every day, and since the pandemic has released some of its grip on the citizenry, people are coming out of their houses like caged animals, walking as if it was something illegal, fun, and not to be missed.
It’s very refreshing to see so many people enjoying the outdoors. Many believe that it’s actually good for them to be outside and walking. Soon they’ll be telling everyone that they are hikers and that we should be getting into hiking.
9. Alone Time
The opposite of meeting new people is being alone, and not meeting anyone. There are times when being alone is just what the doctor ordered. Have you ever had to live through a pandemic? Don’t get me started on that one!
Hiking and walking alone were invented for pandemics. Hiking alone, along a beach, around a lake, or up the side of a mountain, is safe, and you can do it without a mask if you choose to do so.
10. Thinking Time
All the world’s greatest thinkers, authors, scientists, mothers, and others need time alone to think. Time to clear your mind of all the cobwebs that gather there with time.
Walden Pond was made famous because of a writer who believed he was a hiker.
11. No age Restrictions
Unlike most sports or outdoor activities, Hiking has No Age Restrictions.
Children can be introduced to Hiking at an early age. This may be the best antidote for the terrible twos. Hiking is easily adjustable. Few sports or activities are this forgiving, especially for young parents, wanting to expose their children to physical exercise, and the bounties of Nature. All sports have a very limited and restrictive agenda.
How hard is it to get a bunch of 20 kids together for a softball, baseball, or soccer game? This I am well aware of, as a parent. Thanks to their mother, we laboured hard and long to get our children involved early, in physical and recreational activities, that had a social context.
The logistics of getting two teams of young children to play a Saturday morning fun game of Soccer, made me want to ask my boss if I could come into work some extra hours on Saturdays.
As a matter of fact, our children were the first to suggest that we go to the beach, or for a walk around the lake, on weekends. Like us they had attended school all week, and weren’t very enthused by the odd, screaming parent, wanting their child, to be the Saturday morning hero.
Eventually, we had to agree to their wishes, and make Saturdays, a Hiking Day.
Somethings to Consider
Hiking can be practised by the very young and the very old. It is an activity that can you partake in, throughout your lifetime.
I meet happy and enthusiastic hikers every morning as I hike around our local lake in the park. This I do in the early morning when the day is young and fresh. No time windows to adhere to. When you are hiking, you are never too early, or too late. You control the clock. There is no clock. You are the master and not the slave.
I even meet hikers using their “walkers” for support. They are so appreciative of being able to enjoy their favourite activity out of doors, at their own pace. I love to hear and read stories about hiking and hikers of any age.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, about Hiking, How to get started? What to wear?, or the best footwear for your age, write them in the space below.
I will reply to all your requests as soon as I return from my daily Hike.