Regular exercise is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, as we get older, finding suitable exercise routines can become increasingly difficult. We just can't do the same things we used to be able to do.
Hiking is a great exercise that is suitable for most older adults and is more beneficial than you might think. Regardless of what type of trail you find yourself on, whether it's easy or more challenging, hiking can provide you with a full-body workout.
When you have a higher bone density, your bones are less likely to break, which can lead to a decrease in your risk for osteoporosis. Hiking is a high-impact and weight-bearing activity that can strengthen your bone tissue and improve your bone density.
During a hike, your leg and core muscles are constantly working. Walking uphill will engage your quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes, while going downhill will engage your hips, core, and ankles.
Continuous hiking can improve your balance as you continue to build up stabilizing muscles in your legs and core.
Using things like a trekking pole or a heavy pack can assist in building up and strengthening your arms and back as well.
All cardio exercises can help increase the blood flow to the vessels around your heart as well as force your heart to pump blood faster. The increased blood flow can help to improve your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol levels.
Walking in nature can help increase your endorphin levels, which are responsible for feelings of happiness and euphoria. As endorphins are released, it not only boosts your mood but also lowers the blood cortisol helping you to feel more relaxed. Hiking can also produce more dopamine in your brain to help lower anxiety and stress levels.
Because physical activity creates an increased demand for energy, regular exercise may help improve your memory. The more you exercise, the more your brain exercises too. Being out in nature also forces you to focus more on your surroundings, further helping to improve your memory.