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For Health and Beauty

The Blog of Northwest Vein Center

Hiking Outdoors for Health

August 16, 2017

According to countless studies and research, it’s been proven that hiking has a significant impact on your vascular health, overall health and mental health. Hiking has also been associated with fewer hospitalizations and physician visits. Going for a hike is a great outlet for people who have a hard time finding the motivation to exercise or go to a gym.


Here are a few ways that hiking can improve various health issues:

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Getting your cardio workout in the form of hiking can lower your blood pressure by four to ten points, reducing the risk of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Increasing your heart rate also improves blood circulation which can help reduce vascular disease such as varicose veins.  

Weight Loss

Going to the gym can be a daunting and boring task for some people. Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the beauty around you! The American Heart Association notes that when hiking at a comfortable two-mph pace, a person weighing 150 pounds will burn about 240 calories in an hour. Hiking also increases metabolism, strengthens muscles and can help you achieve a healthier body composition.

Helps Build Muscles

Hiking improves the overall strength and tone of your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body. Building muscles allows the body to burn fat faster and build your endurance and stamina. Hiking also boosts bone density, which not only helps prevent injury during strenuous workouts, it can ward off osteoporosis and bone fractures.  The University of Washington found that women with osteoporosis who walked for one hour three days per week increased their bone density in the spine and other parts of the body by 6 percent over a nine-month period.

Increase Happiness

Hiking can be a great emotional outlet for some people - a form of free therapy!  Exercise increases your natural endorphins, which can give people a sense of well-being and happiness.  Being able to take a break from the busy world around us and focus on oneself in a positive and healthy way, can improve energy, mental clarity, and emotional well-being. According to a study published in Environmental Science and Technology outdoor exercise is linked to "greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression, and increased energy."


Walking or hiking is a low impact exercise - exercise that causes minimal stress and strain on your joints - and something most people can to do without special training, equipment or cost. So, the next time the sun is out, skip the gym and head out to the nearest trail. Hiking is a great and easy way to start improving your health!


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