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Foundation #4: The 9 Surprising Benefits of Hiking

Get outside and hike! There are so many benefits to exercising and being in nature. Don’t go and try to hike Kilimanjaro tomorrow. Start small with walking through a nature trail near your house Build from there by adding a little bit of elevation and longer paths. Then graduate to a state park. Take someone with you and reap the benefits together. Here are 9 ways hiking can benefit the body. 1 - Hiking can boost creativity. In a study conducted by Atchley and Strayer, The ability to solve problems in a creative manner is improved greatly by shutting off the technology and being observant on a hike in nature. In their study, the participants hiked for four days in nature with no technology. Upon returning from their hike they solved complex problems as compared to the non-hiking groups. Those in the hiking groups had increased performance by 50 percent on problem solving games.2 - A voluntary study found that hiking calmed thought patterns and eased stress in participants. 3 - Opt to take a walk outside. People who regularly worked out on a treadmill were less enthusiastic as compared to those who basked in nature for their exercise. Not to mention that a walking on a treadmill is wreaking havoc on your hamstrings.4 - Even if you cannot get out into nature. The literature says that walking along quiet, tree-lined streets—rather than on busy city streets—led to “slight but meaningful improvements in mental health.”5 - Hiking regularly can prevent memory loss and possibly prevent early onset of Alzheimers6 - 50% increase in problem solving tasks in test subjects after they completed a simple hike, technology free.7 - One study revealed that there was a 50% increase in Natural Killer Cells, which are a type of white blood cell that fights infection and tumors in the body.8 - Children exposed to “green, outdoor activities” experience a significant reduction in symptoms of what the medical community refer to as “ADHD”.9 - Blood pressure and heart rates drop significantly while hiking. This drop in blood pressure is because of a massive decrease in cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone”. Over production of Cortisol affects your body’s ability to regulate metabolism and sugar levels.

This article is part of an ongoing series of articles based on the five foundations of health written by Birmingham, Alabama, chiropractor Dr. John Palmer of Friends and Family Health Centers.

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