Hiking, Nature's Therapy

Hiking, Nature’s Therapy

Rock Springs Retreat Center / May 24, 2022 / Anna Rutherford / 0
The smooth earth crumbling beneath your shoes, the cool breeze brushing against your face, the smell of freshly bloomed flowers, the warmth of sunshine tingling your skin as it escapes through the trees above. Hiking truly is a unique experience for your body and senses. Nothing can compare to the incredible expedition of walking the path that nature has laid out for us. It’s an excellent opportunity to rekindle your relationship with nature while reaping the abundance of health benefits. That’s why we here at Fit Farm at Rock Springs have incorporated weekly hikes into our retreat schedule. If you haven’t experienced a hike first-hand, you’ve got to try nature’s therapeutic and awe-inspiring activity, no matter if you’re planning on attending one of our retreats or if you’re hitting the trails back at home. You’ll find that hiking truly is an amazing fitness adventure for body and mind.

Get Ready to Hit the Trails

Hiking Uphill
It goes without saying that hiking any trail can be a great workout. It’s an activity that engages many muscle groups, especially if you’re going through uneven terrain that has inclines and slopes. If you’re just starting out, look for a short, local trail, for example, a nearby park or nature trail. AllTrails is the holy grail when it comes to planning for your first couple of hikes. You’ll find a list of nearby trails, a map with an overview, the difficulty and length, and the weather and UV index. Use this tool to help you gain confidence and become familiar with hiking.

Over a period of time of actively hiking, you’ll find that your muscles and core will begin to strengthen, and your cardio and balance will improve. You may also find yourself wanting to increase your gains by turning your hike into a full-body workout. Hiking poles are often used to aid in balance; however, you can also use them to activate your upper body by digging them into the ground and propelling yourself forward as your travel. Another way you can challenge yourself and increase your calorie burn is by carrying a weighted backpack.

A Workout for Body and Mind

Hiking Health Benefits
It’s true that when engaging in any kind of exercise, your body releases endorphins that helps reduce your perception of pain and triggers a positive response emotionally that aids in stress reduction. Hiking takes your endorphin release to the next level and goes beyond what a couple miles on the elliptical at home can do for you through its natural setting. Being surrounded by nature at its core gives your brain the break it needs. It’s a way to escape from technology and distractions and allows you to take a step back and reflect upon yourself.

Instead of opting for sensory overload through artificial means via technology, consider the sensational interaction your brain becomes immersed within when surrounded by fresh air, natural sounds, beautiful sights, and the overall Zen nature delivers. On top of that, it’s a healthy way to exercise your brain. Unlike a treadmill, thought needs to be put into traversing unpredictable terrain. When walking through dirt, between trees, through creeks, etc., you enlist your brain on where you need to place your feet. It’s a workout that engages both your mind and body, heightening and sharpening your senses.

Healthy Dose of Vitamin D

Hiking Healthy
Besides all the cardio and calories that you burn just through hiking alone, you also receive a boost from the sun naturally via vitamin D. Vitamin D is a helpful agent when it comes to weight loss as it aids in fat breakdown and reduces fat storage. According to healthline, the current recommendation for vitamin D is at least 600 IU per day. The sun exposure needed to meet that daily recommendation depends on multiple factors including how much of your skin is exposed, time of day, how much melanin (pigment) you have in your skin, and so forth. This is where AllTrails also comes in handy when it comes to accounting for the UV index. It’s important not to forget to properly protect yourself when going out in the sun for long periods of time. You’ll want to bring a hat, sunglasses, and regularly apply sunscreen, especially if you are sweating, to prevent sunburn.

Strengthen Relationships, Build New Ones

Hiking with Friends
Not only is hiking with a buddy fun, but it’s also a good idea if you are just starting out or unfamiliar with the trail. As you traverse through trails, you’ll find that encouraging and supporting each other will strengthen your relationship, heightening your overall experience. That buddy can be your accountability partner that pushes you and walks along side you through your fitness journey. Having a partner is also helpful when it comes to navigating trails and is a good idea in case anyone may need assistance. When Fit Farm goes out on their weekly hikes with guests, we always have a team member with the group that is familiar with the trails and provides guidance along the way.

Fit Farm’s Hiking Adventures

Fit Farm Hikes
Throughout the surrounding area of Fit Farm, there are charming places to enjoy the natural beauty of Tennessee’s foothills while getting a good workout. Each week on Thursday and Saturday (weather permitting), guests can enjoy an outdoor adventure at some of the favorite trails among locals. If the weather is especially nice, we’ll add one or two more hikes into the schedule. Hikes at Fit Farm are more than just a walk on a trail. They’re an opportunity to explore, learn, and have fun. Den mother Linda thoroughly researches each location before bringing any guests to a site so she can become familiar with the trails and ensure that guests of all fitness levels can partake.

Hikes are popular among our guests at Fit Farm because they’re a fun way to quickly burn calories without even realizing it. We all burn calories differently. On average, Linda burns 500 calories with 9,000 steps on 1 ½-hour hikes. Some guests burn up to 1,000 calories! There’s nothing quite like resetting your mind, having a good laugh, learning the historical significance and fun facts of a trail, and burning calories while out in nature with friends. Join us on our weekly adventures as Fit Farm guides you through breathtaking views on an awesome fitness experience! Below are a few of the trails we conquer at Fit Farm.
So, did we manage to pique your interest on hiking? If you’ve already started your hiking journey, share with us your favorite locations and why you love to hike in the comments below! If you haven’t gone on a hike yet, why not change things up and include hiking into your regular workout schedule? No matter what path you’re currently on or where you’re starting from, you’ll find that hiking is a gratifying and nourishing gift from nature that no exercise machine can replicate.

If you’re looking for a jumpstart to your fitness or weight loss journey and need guidance, be sure to reach out to the Fit Farm at Rock Springs team and follow us on social media to see the Fit Farm family’s hiking adventures!

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