3. Hiking can spark brain power and creative thoughts
Any form of exercise boosts the brain’s ability to think differently and be creative in working or solving any problem. When you hike, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor is released (BDNF), which stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with learning and memory. The more the new nerve cells in the brain, the more the power to think in new ways and remember more information for a longer period of time.
Hiking in nature keeps you away from technology. You spend more time admiring the beauty of hills, valleys, and mountains. Going for tech-free hiking excursions has a lot of cognitive advantages. Hiking also keeps age-related brain problems at bay, because it impacts the overall plasticity of the brain.
In the study titled, “Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings”, researchers found that exposure to nature can restore prefrontal cortex-mediated executive processes such as attention, problem-solving, and multitasking.
A group of naive hikers were immersed in nature four days completely disconnected from technology. The participants were then asked to perform tasks which required creative thinking and problem-solving. The results showed that the participants’ performance on problem-solving tasks increased by 50%.
4. Hiking in nature can induce alpha waves
When you hike in a scenic natural spot you can induce alpha brain waves which are dominant only during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. These waves help you be in the present, stay calm and represent the resting state of the brain.
Alpha waves of the brain aid in alertness, mental coordination, mind/body integration and learning. Hiking is a form of exercise in beautiful surroundings that boost slow frequency alpha brainwaves. Increase in alpha waves can help you fight depression. So, if you’re planning to integrate exercise in your daily life, hiking is a top-notch choice for you.
5. Hiking makes you happier
Do you know hiking in nature releases endorphins in our body. These are natural painkillers that decrease our sensitivity to stress and pain, and also make us feel euphoric. Endorphins also trigger positive feelings in the body, which keeps you in high spirits and good mood. Thus, hiking not only boosts your brain power, but makes you happier too.
If you are impressed knowing about the brain benefits of hiking, then start planning how and when to begin to start hiking. Not necessary that you have to go to famous hill stations to start hiking, you can also start walking through trails in a park. Any exercise outdoors is better than none. You will be glad to know that more and more doctors are writing “nature prescriptions” or recommending “ecotherapy” to improve mental wellbeing, according to WebMD. But, don’t forget to disconnect yourself from technology.
Looking for one more reason to start hiking?
Well, you will be glad to know that hiking is a great exercise for those troubled with weight gain. It’s a low-intensity exercise and you can burn calories mostly fat. Hiking can help you burn between 400 – 700 calories per hour, depending on your size and the hike difficulty. Hiking can never be boring because you get additional perks like enjoying the greenery.
No wonder why people who exercise outdoors are highly likely to stick to their exercise programs., making hiking an excellent choice for those trying to be more physically active. Hiking on trails means uneven terrain, where you have to put extra effort to balance yourself and keep going. This will elevate your heart rate and increase the intensity of your hike. And if you are hiking with a heavy pack that will help you burn more calories. A healthy body means a healthy mind!
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