Hiking is one of the oldest forms of exercise as we know it. Maybe that’s why it feels so good to get out and do it; it puts us in touch with nature and our core instincts. There are piles of research to back the full health and wellness benefits of hiking, and unlike hitting the gym and getting on a stationary bike, you feel the results immediately in your mind, body, and heart. Besides; the gym doesn’t give you sunshiney Vitamin D, clean air, and beautiful views!
After a day outside hiking, many hikers turn to massage therapy to help release muscle tension in the body (especially their feet). So the next time you find yourself Sunday Fundaying it in the woods, hiking with friends, book a massage online with Stephenson Massage Therapy to bring your body and mind back to your serene experience.
The Health Benefits Of Hiking And Massage Therapy
Countless scientists have produced research showing that hiking is beneficial for your overall health and wellness. Some have even claimed hiking can help with depression, recovery from cancer, and weight loss. Hitting the trail and going on regular hikes has also been proven to help with attention span and creative problem solving (improving as much as 50%), and helps to lower your blood pressure by 4-10 points.
Similar to massage therapy, the benefits of hiking also include, cardiovascular strengthening, muscle toning, better lung function, better posture and bone health, along with stress reduction.
While some of those claims may seem a little extreme, all the wellness benefits are tied together in a way that provides your body and mind with a positive healing experience. Both hiking and massage therapy is shown to reduce oxidative stress in the body, helping you get well and stay well.
Hiking Your Way to Fitness
Hiking as a form of fitness is an obvious plus. Anyone who’s ever hit the trails even once knows that even the easiest path for beginners can leave you feeling simultaneously sore and invigorated. You’ll sweat, you’ll breathe hard, your heart-rate goes up, and you’ll be working all your muscles- even working your balance and coordination. Mother Nature is not a cakewalk!
Massage Therapy And Hiking
Hikers are generally fit people, and as with anything, the more you do it, the more you improve. If you are a beginner looking to increase your workout when hiking, give these ideas a try:
Using those weird ski-type things works your upper body, and gives your legs a bit of a break. Using the poles to propel yourself forward helps spread out the groups of muscles being engaged, so you get a full-body workout.
Wear A Pack
For safety, you’ll want to bring lots of water, snacks, and emergency supplies like a First Aid kit, anyway. So load up a comfortable pack with essentials, and the added weight of a 10-15 pound pack on your upper body will help you burn 10-15% more calories during your hike, while strengthening your lower back muscles.
Bring A Buddy—Or A Few!
Social exercise is known to improve the overall health and fitness benefits of hiking. It’s like supercharging your workout. Humans love other humans, and we simply exercise better in groups. Hiking with others produces the happy chemicals in your brain, increases your pain threshold, and lowers stress even further than you already would while hiking solo. Hiking is good for you, while hiking with friends turns out to be even better!
Altitude can give an added challenge as well as a few extra health benefits. Choosing a more challenging path will of course give you a tougher workout and burn more calories on rougher terrain. But know your skill level! Never attempt a solo trek on an unfamiliar and too-tough trail. Start small your first few hikes, then work your way to the trickier peaks as your fitness level increases to really challenge your body.
Get Back To Your Roots
A love of nature is coded deep into our DNA. You might be surprised how much better you feel- mentality, emotionally, and physically, when you take up hiking. You don’t have to grow a beard and learn to bow-hunt to get a solid endorphin boost of a weekend hike in the woods. Studies show that hiking is proven to relax you, improve your physical wellness, and make you feel generally happier.
While hiking is a tried-and-true way to improve your physical health, complementary massage therapy treatments can also benefit both before and after your trek. So strap on a pack, lace up your boots, and take to the hills and book a massage online with Stephenson Massage Therapy whenever and wherever the trail takes you!