Enjoy Nature, Enjoy Hiking

Naturalist John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” There is no better time than today to go outside and enjoy nature.

One of the major benefits of hiking is that it delivers almost immediate rewards. As long as you haven’t been leading a totally sedentary life, you can usually begin hiking right away. Another plus: You don’t have to be in perfect shape to start and get the health benefits.

Hiking is a great way to start exercising. Start with easy hikes and work up to steeper hikes that work your legs more. Additionally, it’s pretty cheap. The up-front spending for hiking essentials is minimal.

According to the American Hiking Society, hiking delivers a remarkable range of health benefits with comparatively few risks. By using hiking as a way to stay physically active, you can:

• Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
• Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
• Boost bone density and build muscle strength.
• Help control your weight.
• Boost your mood.

A growing body of research suggests that walking and hiking have mental benefits as well as physical ones. Hiking and walking are great for helping people think about things and work through problems. Sometimes observing nature can lower stress and allow you to think clearer, while at the same time activating parts of your brain that aren’t as active in a work setting. Research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

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