10 Sep This Is the Proof That Hiking Can Make You a Happier Person
There have been many studies which emphasize the beneficial impact of hiking on our physical health. Don’t believe us? Here is proof that hiking can make you happier.
Improve Your Memory and Creativity
Studies have shown that those who regularly spend time in natural settings, hiking or otherwise, have a better memory and are more creative. The study called “Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings” and researchers from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education proved that interacting with nature has real, quantifiable benefits as it increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills with 50 percent.
The abundance of trees, exposure to natural sunlight, and fresh air are all factors which make hikers think more clearly and find creative solutions much faster.
Reduces Stress and Depression
According to “Hiking in suicidal patients: neutral effects on markers of suicidality,” hiking can be used as a supplementary therapy to help people to cope with severe depression.
As our day to day lives involve stress, disconnecting from all the hustle and bustle of the city and going for a hike lowers your blood pressure and cortisol (a hormone released during stressful times), with the activity instantly calming you in addition to the physical benefits.
“Being out in nature, away from the business of our daily lives and technology, can allow people to connect with themselves and nature in a way that brings about peace and a sense of well-being,” said Leigh Jackson-Magennis, REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach New England Market Manager, which is once again proof that hiking can make you happier.
Your body also releases endorphins when it exercises, which can improve your mood and maintain it throughout the day or night.
You Focus Less on Negative Thoughts
The “Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation” study shows that exposure to nature significantly reduces what psychologists call “rumination,” which is having repetitive thoughts of embarrassing or disappointing moments in our lives. This pattern of negative thinking is a precursor of depressive episodes. Hiking is a great way of spending time in nature and to focus on the present and your trail, which keeps you from mulling over the bad things that happened in the past.
You Get to Sleep Better
Sleep disorders are very common in today’s world. A lack of a good night’s sleep makes you feel tired and cranky, and there are many investigations that link a chronic lack of sleep with mental and emotional distress. A study from the University of Michigan called “Biomechanics and energetics of walking on uneven terrain” showed that walking or climbing over uneven land takes up more than 28% energy compared to walking on flat ground. You also limit your exposure to devices which produce artificial blue light before bedtime, and this leads to a night of better, restorative sleep.
There have been many studies and research papers that look into the benefits of hiking on mental health. With so much proof that hiking can make you happier, you should hit the trails now.