The Benefits of Hiking

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Walking is one of the most simple exercises we can do for our general health. The benefits appear to be greatly amplified when walking in nature!

There are plenty of us who love to spend as many hours of the day outdoors as we can, and hiking is obviously quite healthy for the body, but few of us ever give a lot of thought to how hiking could benefit our mental health as well. It turns out that hiking might just be your ticket to a brand-new brain, whether you’re passionate about the outdoors, or just force yourself to take a stroll around your local park.

Chemicals released by trees reduce stress

The mere act of spending time in the great outdoors can be hugely helpful to your brain thanks to the anti-bacterial chemicals released by trees and plants. Studies have found that exposure to these phytoncides can have a significant effect on stress, with cortisol levels found to be lowered among those who spend more time in green spaces. What’s more, a sustained amount of time around national parks and forests has also been found to improve the body’s immune system and increase energy levels.

Your brain rewards trips to the outdoors

If you spend way too much time in the city, simply getting a train to the countryside can have a huge impact on your deep brain circuitry. “Anything that allows you to take a break and go to a different space also allows your brain to think in a different way. As humans, we’re primed and motivated to want to explore and move around to different spaces and environments and find out new things from those environments. So we follow our natural instincts that we’ve evolved for and the deep brain circuitry embedded within our brain which prompts us to want to do that, then rewards us once we have.”

Walking outdoors helps beat depression

According to recent research, even the smallest amount of time spent in the countryside can reduce your chance of developing depression. Which means even something as simple as hiking for half a day could help you get mentally fit and provide a hefty amount of weaponry when fighting back against any mental health issues you may be encountering. In addition, a 2015 study by Stanford University found that spending time in natural environments helped to calm the part of the brain linked to mental illness.

Dr Patrick Maher – Chiropractor Brisbane CBD

 

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