Friday, April 28, 2017

Backpacking!

I'm backpacking for the first time this weekend! There’s something inherently satisfying and refreshing in traversing a span nature for a period of time with nothing but what you can carry on your back. From the invigorating sights to the quiet moments of self-reflection, backpacking the outdoors provides a number of health benefits ranging from physical to mental to spiritual.

Cardiovascular strength – Because backpacking requires covering large distances, usually by walking  up and down hills and mountains, the heart has to pump harder to keep up with the oxygen demand. Though trekking is not necessarily a highly intense sport, the heart rate does maintain a steady, increased rate, increasing blood flow to the muscles and the brain.

Toned Muscles
Straight-up walking can get your butt in better shape, but taking on sharp inclines, using trekking poles to propel you forward and clambering over rocks gives your body an all-over workout.
Physiologically, you're going to work your whole body, and especially the lower body — namely the quads, glutes and hamstrings. If you're carrying a pack, then you're going to challenge the strength and endurance of your upper body as well.

Builds strong bones – Trekking requires optimum effort from the human body, as it requires stretching, jumping, climbing and dodging at several intervals.  Such small burst of exercises at regular intervals during a trek help make bones stronger. Backpackers also have the added beneficial burden of carrying supplies which means added weight on the shoulders and spine. If carried properly, this weight training can help add on bone density thereby achieving overall fitness. Hiking regularly will decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis and arthritis. If you have arthritis, studies have shown that 150 minutes of hiking per week will maintain flexibility in your joints and decrease joint stiffness. 

Camaraderie with your cardio.
A study published in Biology Letters found that group exercise heightened pain threshold, indicating a surge of an athlete's best friend: endorphins. Social group dynamics and working with like-minded hikers is something that makes people feel better. Hiking can help build long-term friendships that keep you accountable to your fitness. A regular weekend meet-up or a planned long-distance trek can help you forge bonds while you shape up.

Mental benefits – Stress can disrupt your everyday life, causing health problems and depression. Taking in the fresh air and nature around you while hiking is a great way to help improve your mental health, and it is believed to also improve memory and functionality of the brain. Breathing in the fresh air, as well as seeing plants and animals can also give you a better appreciation of the world and a sense of calmness and joy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food



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