Hike / walk / bushwalk your way to happiness!

Hike / walk / bushwalk your way to happiness!

There are so many paths to happiness.

You can create more happiness by thinking more optimistically, setting and working towards meaningful goals, exercising, spending time with friends and … there are so many more ways.

But getting out in nature is also a super effective way to boost your happiness and wellbeing; and this great article outlines some of the reasons why…

via Real Simply by Lindsay Tigar

For as long as there have been humans, they’ve longed to see Mother Nature up close and personal. Most of the time, they’ve used their own two feet to trek the trail. Hiking is a favorite pastime year round, and a lifelong adventure for some. Whether it’s scaling the tallest mountains in the world or simply breathing in the fresh air of the hills in your backyard, hiking is a way to disconnect and reconnect to the earth. While we know it’s a form of exercise and a healthy alternative to day-drinking, there are also plenty of benefits of hiking. From reducing anxiety to teaching us survival skills, here are some compelling reasons for getting outside.

1Hiking is good for your heart

Considering heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, anything we can do to fight back is worthwhile. Especially if it’s fun and fulfilling, like hiking. This type of exercise decreases bad cholesterol blood levels, while increasing good ones, says Steven Reisman, MD, a cardiologist and director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center. “Exercise can also improve blood circulation, reduce or prevent high blood pressure, improve heart function and decrease  the risk of developing diabetes,” he continues. “Moderate to high intensity aerobic activity can increase the benefit and this might include hiking uphill or carrying a heavy backpack.”

Dr. Reisman also says hiking offers different perks than traditional cardio, since it reduces stress, while improving our mood. With all of these perks combined, he says our risk of an acute heart attack is significantly less.

2Hiking reduces anxiety

Though part of the beauty of hiking is admiring the world around you, if you don’t want to, um, fall off a mountain, you have to pay attention to where you’re walking. Regardless if it’s flat terrain or a hilly stretch, hiking helps us to stay centered and focused in real time, says Chris Fagan, author, adventurer, and founder of Sparkfire. After all, if you are giving all of your attention to remaining safe, you have little time to worry about what happened a week ago, or the big meeting you have coming up. Since many people battle anxiety, and struggle with letting go and living life, being immersed in nature can instantly calm us as we tune in to what’s around us.

One way to do this is to use all of your senses during a hike, says Serena Poon, a chef, nutritionist, and Reiki healer. “Focus on how the crisp air feels against your face, the sound of the leaves rustling, and the all-encompassing calm,” she says. In a sense, this meditation-lite, and can be done while hiking or during a rest break…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE