No-one would argue with a statement that read “Study shows hiking is inherently good for you”. That just makes sense to us. Hiking is good exercise, allows you to explore nature, connect with people and bolster your Instagram game. However, science has come along to not only confirm the above statement but to do one better.
Like most human practices, taking part long hike can actually alter the way our brains function. Not in the same way as chowing down on some questionable mushrooms halfway up the trail, but rather, for the better.
As reported by Collective Evolution, here are four ways hiking actually changes your brain (in all the positive ways).
1. Negative and obsessive thoughts fade away
Time outdoors creates an unique feeling of weightlessness and calm. Hiking can reduce rumination and circular internal arguments. Negative thoughts can remove you from the moment but spending time in the majesty of nature can decrease these obsessive thoughts significantly.
A study tested two subjects, one spending 90 minutes walking through an urban environment and the other nature. The latter experienced far less neural activity in the portion of the brain that propels rumination.
2. Digital detox results in higher creativity
A linear method of thinking would suggest that our hyper-connected status would lead to more creativity because of the amount of inspiration we’re exposed to. However, disconnection results in focus and only through concentration can genuine creativity be harnessed.
3. It can even improve ADHD in children
Kids who have ADHD have a difficult time controlling their impulses and focusing for any period of time. Exposing children with ADHD to outdoor activities reduces symptoms significantly.
The fresh air and exercise keeps their body stimulated rather than mundane classroom activities. The same benefits can be reaped by anyone struggling with concentration.
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4. Exercise makes for boosted brainpower
Hiking is an excellent way of burning 400-700 cal roes an hour but it’s also a proven fact that those who exercise outside are more likely to stick with it over gym routines. Other awesome benefits include prevention of memory loss, boosted self-esteem, reduced stress and high dosages of endorphins.