Want To Find Your Zen? Experts Say Hiking Is The New Yoga

It’s general consensus that the best way to exercise is whichever way you best enjoy. We’re very much on board with that idea, but turns out if you want to maximise the health benefits, some workouts could trump others.

In case you missed it, hiking is very much in at the moment. And honestly, we’re not surprised. It has to be the most chill and relaxing way to exercise amid fresh air and nature. As it turns out, it could boast more health benefits when compared to other exercise and relaxation practices.

Now before you chuck your yoga mat in the bin and invest in a new pair of runners, hear us out.

Spending time in nature is good for our mind and bodies. “Nature allows us to tune in to our body’s natural rhythms, which is super important to our health,” Neurologist Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D. told mindbodygreen.

“Studies on nature’s effects on human health have proved that if humans are regularly exposed to natural surroundings, there is decreased incidence of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, headaches, and overall inflammation,” Dr. Ruhoy continues.

So it makes you wonder, is going straight from being inside the four walls of your office to under the shelter of your yoga studio the best way to work out?

When you consider it from humans’ evolutionary record, there is certainly some weight to the concept of spending time outside for improved wellness.

“As hunter-gatherers, we’d ‘hike’ all day looking for food sources, and our human bodies have evolved over the centuries to absolutely love and crave long walks,” Michelle Cady, health coach and FitVista founder told mindbodygreen. Cady also spoke of the particular benefits for people living in urban areas, who have little opportunity to spend time in nature.

“We’re built for it. Hiking is a proven meditative activity – the repetitive motion of each ‘step, step, step’ calms you down, decreases stress response, and lowers cortisol levels in the body”.

Maybe it’s time to consider including a hike or two into your weekly workout routine and test the theory for yourself. Also check out our piece on how hiking can improve your brain activity.

H/T: mindbodygreen

Bradley is a writer from regional NSW and he didn’t come here to make friends, he came to win. He tweets infrequently to his 43 followers @bradjohnston_.