For a long time, hiking was considered boring, but that has changed. More and more people are drawn to nature to relax and recharge their batteries on long walks. But going hiking not only relieves stress, it also helps prevent disease.
If you lace up your hiking boots, you give your body an extra health bonus. This not only benefits the heart and circulation, but also the muscles, bones and blood values. Find out what makes going hiking so healthy and what you need to look out for when you walk briskly.
- Is going hiking really a sport?
- How good is hiking for your health?
- How does hiking strengthen the bones?
- Can hiking prevent osteoporosis?
- How does hiking affect the cardiovascular system?
- How often and for how long should I hike to experience any health benefits?
- What are the biggest mistakes when hiking?
Is going hiking really a sport?
Hiking is sport, provided you walk tight and challenge your cardiovascular system. Leisurely hiking or walking, on the other hand, has hardly any training effect. Brisk hiking wonderfully closes the gap between walking and jogging.
This means that hiking is not only a good sport for the elderly, but also for younger beginners. You have a good heart and breathing rate as well as an adequate supply of oxygen if you breathe in four steps and exhale four steps.
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How good is hiking for your health?
Brisk hiking is endurance sport and therefore a real all-rounder for health. If you hike regularly, you will strengthen your cardiovascular system: Among other things, your heart muscle will be stronger, your lung volume will be bigger, the oxygen supply will be better and your blood pressure will drop.
Your skeleton also benefits: hiking strengthens muscles, tendons and ligaments and stabilizes your bones. Your metabolism also benefits: exercise helps regulate blood sugar and lower blood lipid levels by up to 30 percent.
How does hiking strengthen the bones?
A well-functioning bone metabolism requires stress. Only in this way can the build-up and breakdown of bone substance remain in a healthy balance. The stimuli that are transmitted to the bones via the soles of the feet when hiking, but also when walking and jogging, activate the bone metabolism and promote the formation of new bone substance.
Can hiking prevent osteoporosis?
Hiking can definitely help prevent osteoporosis – just like other sports that stimulate bone metabolism. Exercise is essential for healthy bones. However, it is important that the bones are exposed to a certain amount of stress so that they are adequately stimulated and renewal processes are stimulated.
How does hiking affect the cardiovascular system?
Hiking is a great way to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It is important that you are regularly active. Endurance training makes the heart stronger and better supplied with blood.
The heart volume increases and more blood can be transported per heartbeat. The heart rate decreases with exercise, which relieves the heart muscle. Lung volume and oxygen supply also improve.
At the same time, hiking promotes elastic blood vessels. When you exercise, more blood is pumped around your body. This trains the expansion and contraction of the vessels. And that also lowers blood pressure. In addition, fewer deposits form on the vessel walls.
How often and for how long should I hike to experience any health benefits?
For your body to benefit, you should go hiking every other day – preferably between 60 and 90 minutes without a break. Sports beginners should slowly approach the load. You can work up a sweat and take a breath.
If you can still have a good time, but still feel exertion, the strain is good and your body is not overwhelmed. Increase slowly so your body can get used to the exertion.
What are the biggest mistakes when hiking?
The biggest mistake in hiking is when you go on a hiking holiday without being trained. The body is usually not prepared for such a strain – unless you are regularly active in everyday life. A beginner’s cardiovascular system takes about three months to get used to the strain.
It takes six months for muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones to withstand greater stress, for example five hours of hiking at high altitudes on uneven terrain.
A hiking holiday requires appropriate physical preparation, otherwise you risk cardiovascular events, injuries to the joints and bone fractures, among other things. While hiking uphill mainly demands the cardiovascular system, downhill joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments are particularly active, as the body weight has to be absorbed.
In flat terrain, stable sports shoes are usually sufficient. It is important that you have a firm fit in the shoes, that the sole is stable and non-slip and that your ankle is stabilized. In rough terrain, it is advisable to wear special hiking shoes.
They give the feet a good grip and prevent them from twisting. Hiking shoes are important when going downhill for a long time. Then muscles, tendons and ligaments tire and the ankle joint become unstable as a result. Hiking shoes then offer the ankle the necessary stability. In between, lace the shoes tight again so that the shoe always fits well.