This is the perfect time to convert your non-hiking friends to the wonders of the trails. Think about your friends who said this is the year they “exercise,” “lose weight,” or “will be healthier.” Do you really think they can keep those resolutions? Be a good friend and gain a new hiking buddy by touting the benefits of walking.
The health benefits of walking are tremendous. For someone who has not exercised lately, walking is a great way to ease into it. It lowers your blood pressure, helps you lose weight, and decreases the chance of diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic, fast walking actually lowers the risk of heart attack by the same amount as jogging. So, “taking a daily walk” is a great resolution for 2012.
Hiking is the ultimate form of walking. It takes all the benefits of a brisk walk and combines it with the benefits of being in nature. While simply being outside and walking on a city street is better than being cooped up in your home or walking on a treadmill in a gym, being surrounded by trees is even better. Research has shown that spending time in natural setting, whether an urban forest or a national park, has physical and mental benefits. These include decreased stress levels, increased attention spans, and decreased mental fatigue.