5 Ways Hiking Relieves Stress

In our everyday lives, it’s so easy to become stressed out. It’s extremely important to find a hobby or activity that helps you alleviate the stresses of school, work, or family. Physical activities such as hiking can be a great release of stress and something that you can enjoy without having to think too much about how to do it or what to do. Hiking can be as easy as taking a walk!

Here are 5 ways hiking relieves stress:

  1. It triggers endorphins to be released
  2. Hiking allows for healthier living
  3. You get to experience nature
  4. Hiking helps you sleep better
  5. You get full peace and quiet from life

Endorphins

Endorphins are a group of hormones that are released within the brain. They are the body’s natural pain killers and consist of peptides. Endorphins are produced by the pituitary gland and central nervous system.

Endorphins trigger the opiate receptors located in our brain which causes pain to be reduced and pleasure to boost. These hormones are released in response to eating, sex, exercise, or pain. The purpose of endorphins is to “reward” us when we do important activities like exercising, drinking, eating, having sex to reproduce.

A physical activity such as hiking is a perfect way to boost your endorphins and feel positively. The endorphins released in your body will help relieve your stress due to the chemical reaction that takes place in your brain when you exercise!  The sooner you start, the better!

Healthier Living

We all want to be as healthy as possible to live a healthy and long life. Improper health plays a large part in our emotions and well-being. Aside from the endorphins released when your exercise, the physical activity of hiking can create another level of physical health for you.

When we feel good about our bodies have strong cardiovascular health, a level of physical stress that is put on our bodies from poor health disappears. When our hearts and organs don’t have to work as hard, it relieves brain fog and tension. Hiking is a great outlet for getting healthier and stronger.

As you start consistently exercising, you’ll want to eat better to give yourself fuel and energy. Food is a large part of how our brain functions and how our bodies operate. A positive change in your diet can make a drastic impact on your emotions and moods. It can aid depression, fatigue, irritability, and anxiety in our regular lives.

A healthy body creates a healthy mind!

Experiencing Nature

Nothing is better than the occasional peace and quiet after a long and tiresome week of work or school. In nature, you’re surrounded by peaceful serenity and left alone with your own thoughts. If you choose not to bring anyone along on your hike, you have a space just for yourself to breathe and not worry about sharing your thoughts.

When you’re hiking, you get to experience nature and connect with the wildlife around you. Admiring the landscape that you’re hiking in may bring you a sense of peace and comfort. This experience will let you connect with yourself and your own thoughts as well. Often, stress is born out of brain clutter and fog. When you can think clearly, the things that are piling up and stressing you don’t feel as if they are as huge and overwhelming.  Taking time to sit and meditate with yourself during your hike will help clear up the stressful mental clutter.

A great way to reflect on what stresses you and why, is to create a journal and take it with you. Journaling as you take breaks on your hike can be a private and intimate experience with yourself. Expressing yourself on paper can help sort the things in your mind.

        Journaling tips:

  •  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write something amazing
  • Start small… how was your day? How was your week? What’s something fun that you did?
  • Slowly reflect on instances that made you feel stress, tired, uncapable, unheard, etc.
  • Do not make journaling a chore on your hikes, just carry it with you and if you feel at peace and you want to declutter, then sit on a rock and start scribbling.

Peace and Quiet from Distractions

A lot of our stressors stem from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. By allowing ourselves to disconnect, we give ourselves freedom to enjoy the world around us and wind down our thoughts.

On most hikes, there isn’t much cell phone service. This means there aren’t many ways for people to reach you and create more stress in your life. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the needs of others, but hiking lets you put yourself first. The lack of technology gives you the opportunity to enjoy yourself and your life without worrying about what someone is saying, what you must do, who’s expecting your time, etc.

Peace and quiet from distractions is not something we get to experience often. Go hiking and take your well-deserved break from the world.

Better Sleep

Exercise directly correlates to better sleep! Aside from the obvious reasons of exercise making you so fatigued that you knock out the minute you sit down, there are so many other reasons why physical activity, such as hiking, can help you sleep. Longer and fulfilling sleep can help you start you day stress free and reduce irritability.

Even exercise as simple as walking is said to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep as well as increase the amount of time you sleep for. A reason for this could be because of the heating effects or exercise. As your body increases in temperature, the drop in body temperature after the exercise is finished, may trigger the perfect body temperature needed for sleep.

Another reason for this could be because of the circadian rhythm change in your body. Circadian rhythm is your personal body clock. People who experience insomnia due to the body clock being off, may benefit from the shift that exercise at a certain time of the day can create.

Head out this weekend and start your hiking journey! Happy Hiking!

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