It doesn’t matter whether you take a walk in the park or lace up your hiking boots for a backpacking expedition up a mountain. Hiking on the trail – immersed in nature – offers understated health benefits for adults and children alike. Health benefits of hiking include improving your physical, mental, and for some – even spiritual – wellbeing.
No room in your schedule? Even if you can’t hit the trail as often as you’d like, make it a point tospend just 10-15 minutes a day outdoors. Most people start to notice a positive shift in their life after committing to some outside time every day.
Scientists are not completely sure of the range of positive effects vitamin D has on the body, but studies suggest the vitamin wards against conditions like osteoporosis, cancer, depression, and heart attacks. What we do know for sure is that vitamin D aids the body’s absorption of calcium and boosts the immune system.
Exposing yourself to sunlight early in the morning tells your body when to start producing melatonin. That way, when nighttime rolls around, your body will know when it’s time to hit the hay. Even if you work in a windowless environment for 8 hours a day, getting outside into the daylight for just 10-15 minutes could help you fall asleep easier at night.
When children spend time in nature with family and/or friends instead of sitting idly in front of a screen, the way they interact with people changes for the best. Outdoor activities are thought to make children (and adults) act nicer and even create more meaningful social interactions.
Not only do children connect with the environment, they better connect with one another when they are distraction-free. Sometimes it’s best to unplug, leave the smartphones and gadgets at home, and truly experience what lies beyond your front door.
Most people exercise indoors because it’s much easier to maintain a routine in a controlled environment. Torrential downpour, blistering heat, and frostbitten winds are never an issue when hitting the gym. Also, indoor fitness facilities have weights and loads of equipment for getting in shape.
A 2008 study by the Scottish Health Study concluded that outdoor physical activity has a significantly greater positive effect on mental health than exercising in a gym. In addition, running outdoors reportedly has a better effect on the body than running on a treadmill or stationary bicycle.