Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

Long hikes are really beneficial for your body and mind. But, there’s much more than this. Latest research shows that hiking changes the brain.

Hiking blocks “cleans” your mind of negative and obsessive thoughts

When hiking, you feel great. The time you spend outdoor give you great feeling, and it reduces rumination. We life in a stressful world, and it’s almost impossible to avoid negative thoughts.

Negativity “kills” your joy, and you end up dealing with depression and anxiety. A study released in proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that hiking erases negative thoughts.

Research compared the rumination of participants who hiked in urban and natural environment. Participants who walked for 90 minutes in nature had low levels of rumination and low neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex.

This part of the brain is linked to mental illness. Walking in urban areas didn’t show decreased rumination.

In other words, urban life makes us depressed, and many people deal with a mental illness. Spend some time in nature to enjoy all the benefits.

Hiking without technology improves your creative problem-solving skills

Psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer conducted a study to determine the effect of hiking.

Their study showed that disconnecting from technology and spending time in nature improves the creative problem solving. Participants spent four days in nature without technology.

They did tasks that required creative thinking and complex problem solving. Those who enjoyed the tech-free hiking adventure had 50% better performance on problem solving tasks.

Technology and urban noises disrupt the natural process, stealing our attention and focus. This affect our cognitive functions. Tech-free hiking improves your creative thinking and soothes your mind.

Hiking outdoors is great for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is really common these days. Children with this disorder has hard time regulating their impulse control and they are unable to stay focused.

Children are distracted easily, and parents notice excessive hyperactivity. ADHD requires a regular use of prescription medication. But, drugs do more time than good.

Frances E Kup, PhD, and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD, conducted a study and found that children with ADHD need to spend more time outdoors doing different “green outdoor activities.” This will reduce their symptoms drastically.

Hiking boosts brainpower

Physical activity is important for your overall health, and hiking is definitely a must. It helps you burn 400-700 calories per hour. The number depends on your body and the intensity of your workout.

Hiking helps you stick to their programs, and it’s a good choice for those who want to be more active every day.

A group of researchers at the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise has the power to increase the hippocampal volume in women over 70. This brain is related to spatial and episodic memory.

Aerobic exercise prevents memory loss and prevents similar problems. It reduces stress and anxiety, and also improves your self-esteem. Instead of taking medication, try hiking!

Start hiking today!

You don’t need any special equipment. Hiking is good for you and your family. Even your granny will love it! Before you engage into something bigger, go for a walk in the park.

Then look for maps of trails around your home, and find what works best for you. Turn off your phone, and enjoy the adventure.

The only thing you should get is a water bottle and good hiking shoes. When it comes to clothes, layer your clothing, so you can take one layer at a time.

Sources:
wisemindhealthybody.com
www.outwardbound.org.hk

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