Being in the mountains tagging remote peaks while carrying a backpack filled with all the basics you need. It sounds like a great experience but is there more to it other than enjoying beautiful views and snapping great photos? Of course! Going trekking or hiking actually has some great health benefits both physically and mentally. Know this the next time you are treating your body and mind to some quality time on the hiking trails. Take note of the following health benefits of trekking and hiking:
Losing that extra weight
For carrying that backpack into the mountains when trekking you get something in return. You are not just going for a walk. You are spending hours on the hiking trails, perhaps even days. When hiking you are spending anything between 400 and 550 calories an hour. If you add a light pack to that, you will burn an extra 100 calories. The heavier your load, the more calories you will burn. That’s some great motivation to keep you going on your next trek in the Annapurna Region.
Gaining that extra strength
You lose, you win some. In this case, you are definitely going to win some strength. Trekking and hiking will make you stronger. The uneven terrain and the odd boulder provide you a proper all-body workout that will reach all your muscles. Carrying the heavier weight will also make your back and core stronger.
Getting a healthier heartbeat
A workout is always good for the cardiovascular system. As you are constantly on the move while trekking, your heart has to pump more blood through your veins. This directly improves your blood flow and oxygen flow.
Cleaning your lungs
Imagine when you are trekking through the dense rainforests on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Or picture yourself hiking along blooming rhododendron bushes in Nepal. Far away from air pollution, breathing in the fresh air will clean your respiratory system.
Calming your mind
That fresh breath that you will take while hiking and trekking will help you to calm your mind. Being out in nature and the enhanced oxygen intake will likely help you to quiet the voices in your head and live more in the moment. Let’s face it: Trekking to and seeing the Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia can beat any meditation.
Understanding the local culture
Apart from the fact that you will get to see the natural highlights of the area you are trekking in, you will also get to understand the culture. Imagine staying in a small teahouse on the way to Mount Everest where you get to speak to the locals. On a guided trekking you will learn a lot about the country and its culture. Get to know Moroccan culture on the way to the summit of Mount Toubkal or pick up a recipe or two at a home-stay in the Sapa Region in Vietnam.
Making friends for life
When you are booking a trekking experience that takes multiple days or even weeks, you will spend a lot of time with the people you are hiking with. This can be your guide, your porters or simply the people who booked the same trekking tour as you. You are sure to have great conversations and make friends for a lifetime. Making friends is always healthy.
You are not only going to meet people. It doesn’t matter whether you are on an Everest Base Camp Trek, W-Trek or on the Machame Route on Kili. You will see wildlife. Be sure to tick a leopard or even a snow leopard off your wildlife bucket list! Is this a health benefit? We don't know, but who cares: It's awesome.
Apart from a blister or two, we can’t think of any negative effects of going trekking and hiking. And even those blisters can be prevented! Let’s go! The mountains are calling!