March 2, 2021

Seekonk Land Trust News


Hike More and Worry Less

Bundle up! Being outdoors is great for both your physical and mental health, no matter what the weather. Hiking routinely will make you strong — but it doesn’t just work your legs! Get outside and experience nature for physical fitness and mental clarity. Along the way, you may find that the physical benefits of hiking are almost incidental to how hiking contributes to your overall mental health and well being.

There's a truckload of research out there telling us that hiking is good for us. As a form of exercise, there's nothing like a brisk climb to get your heart rate up. How about a new year resolution to challenge yourself and commit to taking one hike a month?

Better yet, get a friend and take the challenge together. Once you begin, you will notice the subtle change: research shows that spending 2 hours a week in nature is a good goal for health benefits even for people living with chronic illness. You can spend 15-20 minutes a day (so that it adds up to 2 hours a week) or a 2 hour block once per week.

Mental health benefits:
• decreases anxiety, depression and stress;
• helps you "recharge" and feel refreshed;
• increases happiness and feeling of well-being.
Physical health benefits:
• lowers blood pressure;
• helps maintain normal levels of blood glucose and manage diabetes;
• reduces the need for pain medication.

Studies find the greatest health benefits come from daily exercise or at least exercising three days a week. US Surgeon General recommends walking at least 22 minutes a day to combat chronic disease. American Heart Association recommends daily exercise of over 30 minutes most days of the week. US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of brisk walking a week. American Diabetes Association also recommends 150 minutes a week with daily physical activity or not more than 2 days between exercise session.
So remember, challenge yourself and just begin —take one hike a month. It’s a start, and once you start, you may find it easier to get out even more!

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