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Top 5 health benefits of hiking in the mountains

While the health benefits of hiking extend beyond the physical, mountains may impact you even more positively, studies suggest.

British Columbia is such a gorgeous province with mountains, oceans and lakes. It’s easy to love where we are, and a joy to share it with others. Hiking outdoors helps you find a sense of peacefulness and positivity, with plenty of perks – gorgeous views and fresh air. 

“Research shows that hiking also helps the symptoms of stress and anxiety.”

Gregory Miller, PhD and president of the American Hiking Society

1. Reduced anxiety and stress

Few would argue that the mountains hold a sense of calm! It’s easier to tap into a more peaceful mindset. As a result, people with stress and anxiety often feel better in views of nature, and sounds of alpine terrain.

2. Improved heart health that comes from being at higher altitude

Living at higher altitude may have a protective effect on the heart, and potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. In this 2010 study, they describe the link between the production of new blood vessels allowing more blood to travel to the heart.

3. Increased calorie burn & decreased appetite

But before thinking you can burn your cake off faster, it’s more of a benefit that visitors to higher mountains such as Colorado will see. Most mountains in B.C. are below 5000 meters which doesn’t really count as high altitude. Hiking for weight loss requires you to keep an exerted pace within your cardiovascular training zone, while eating in a calorie deficit. Outdoor weight loss camps typically have hiking at the forefront of their schedule, as it’s the perfect plus size fitness activity.

4. Forces you to slow down

Mountain life is a place to disconnect. It’s hard to check your phone when walking over rocks on a trail! Often cell range cuts off as soon as you hit the mountain passes.

5. Better sleep quality

While high-altitude environments have adverse effects on sleep quality, walking at lower altitudes have the opposite impact. 

Based on available studies, “We have solid evidence that the health benefits of hiking and exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.”

Charlene Gamaldo, M.D. , medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital.

Being surrounded by gorgeous peaks is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with both the people around you, and yourself. There’s something about the majestic land masses that rise up from the ground that makes it special.

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