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Ways Hiking Can Be A Positive Influence On Your Brain

Hiking is enriching on a number of levels. Indeed, it cleanses the mind and makes one feel great about who they are, but it also has a positive impact on the brain.

Stops Negativity

A person being in the outdoors is going to notice a sense of calmness around them. It will be something that reduces stress like nothing else can. Negative thoughts tend to consume one over time, and it can end up being a never-ending cycle in many cases. It starts to take out the pleasures of life, and that is where depression sets in. Hiking takes this away by removing those negative thoughts.

A study completed by the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” illustrated how time outdoors had a positive influence on removing negative thoughts and it wasn’t a small margin. It was vast in its impact.

The study was done with the help of various participants who hiked through a natural environment, while others hiked through an urban environment. This was done during a 90-minute span, and all of the participants illustrated a better sense of calmness without negative thoughts from the hike outdoors in a natural environment. It was seen in the subgenual prefrontal cortex and its neural activity. Those walking through the urban environment reported no changes.

Researchers believe urban settings are the reason for depression and anxiety cases rising. Not being able to move away from these urban settings consumes people and has an impact on their well-being. 

Boosts Problem Solving

David L. and Ruth Ann Atchley ran a study on the subject. They showed problem solving could be improved by removing technology from one’s life and moving towards nature. Participants in the study were made to go hiking through a natural environment for four days without technology in hand. They were told to participate in pre-established tasks to test their “problem solving” skills, and there was a 50% improvement without the tech in hand.

The reason has to do with the disruptive forces of noise or technology in urban settings. They can drive attention away and prevent one from focusing on cognitive functions. A hike without technology makes it easier to reduce fatigue and boost one’s ability to think.

Helps Better ADHD In Children

ADHD is a troublesome condition for many children. It becomes difficult to handle impulses and concentration isn’t easy at all for children with ADHD.

Parents who have children with ADHD often cite how difficult it can be to get them to focus without medication in hand. However, this isn’t a natural solution and harms their body in other ways. Andrea Faber Taylor and Frances E Kup ran a study illustrating kids participating in outdoor activities could improve their health. The study illustrates exposure to the outdoors made it easier to pay attention for children. When they are spending time outside, their brain starts to focus more and more compared to when they are in urban settings or indoors.

This is why it is important to take them outdoors.

Boosts Brain Power

Exercising is great, and that is one of the main components of this point. By being able to cut out 400-700 calories in one session (per hour), it ensures the body is getting worked out properly. This makes it easier to remain stuck to the program and enjoy the setting as a whole while you are at it. This enables a person to stay committed to the task at hand.

UBC in Canada did a study illustrating how aerobic exercise boosts hippocampal volume in women and this is the part of the brain that is responsible for episodic memory. This is good for those who deal with memory loss as they age. They also noticed it was great for battling anxiety and releasing endorphins. Medication isn’t always the best solution as some might think. Many people think their symptoms will go away as long as they are taking the prescribed medicine and that is untrue. It can do more harm than good and it is best to use a natural solution such as going out and hiking.

How To Start Hiking?

For those who are looking to get started in the world of hiking, it’s not hard at all and is quite cheap. You need to start out with the basics.

Do what you like to do such as go for a walk through the established trails. Even simple exercise outdoors is going to help. Look for maps of trails and follow them so you don’t get lost. Many apps are made for this purpose.

Make sure you keep the phone off while you are going through the hike as it will make things better. However, do keep it on you in case there is an emergency. If you don’t need to use technology, don’t keep it around. Put it in your bag or pocket and make sure it is off as that will help the experience. You don’t want to go through all of this effort and then let technology get in the way of what you are doing.

You want to have the right gear in hand; this includes a water bottle, hiking shoes, and a hat. You want to use trekking poles if you think this will help you walk and reduce pressure on the joints. If you don’t, the body might start to give away during the hiking session or make it hard to do other things as the day goes on.

Go and hike now because it has a plethora of benefits!


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