We all know that regular cardiovascular exercise is good for us, but many of us cannot seem to make it to the gym. How about ditching the treadmill and spending time in nature? Hiking has been shown not only to be great cardio but can also benefit your mental health. Our physical therapist in Chicago at Free Body Physical Therapy recommends hiking as a great form of exercise.
Physical Health Benefits of Hiking
Hiking carries all of the benefits of cardiovascular exercises such as improving your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of developing heart disease, and helping to control your weight. Hiking can also help keep up your bone density because it is a weight-bearing exercise.
Unlike standard cardio such as walking on a treadmill, hiking covers some uneven terrain, helping to improve your balance and strengthen your lower body and core muscles. Many doctors and health professionals, such as our physical therapist in Chicago at Free Body Physical Therapy have been recommending hiking in recent years because of the wonderful benefits it has for the body and mind.
Mental Health Benefits of Hiking
Exercise has the potential to increase mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. Spending time outdoors in nature can also do wonderful things for your mental health. Going for a hike gives you time to unplug from technology, as well as taking your mind off of the stresses of daily life.
Hiking is an activity that combines the benefits of exercise with the benefits of nature to help boost your mood and reduce the negative effects on your mental health, which is why our physical therapist in Chicago sees hiking as an amazing form of exercise.
Hiking Safety Tips
Before hitting the trails, make sure to keep these safety measures in mind! Start off your hiking journey slowly. You may be eager to hit the long and tough trails, but as a beginner, it is important to keep your ability in mind. You can always work up to a tougher hiking route, but treating an injury can keep you from hiking all together! If an injury does occur, Free Body PT’s physical therapist in Chicago can help you get back to hiking in no time.
Suggestions From Our Physical Therapist Chicago
It can be dangerous to hike alone, especially at the beginning. You may be on an unfamiliar or secluded trail, and it is best not to risk being stranded. Having a friend or family member hike with you can help you feel safer, and give you some company on your hike! Come prepared for your hike. You should familiarize yourself with the route you will be taking, as well as packing your bag correctly. Wear sunscreen and bring lots of water to make sure you stay hydrated!
Physical Therapist Chicago
If you have suffered an unfortunate injury during one of your hiking trips, don’t hesitate to seek treatment right away. Our team at Free Body Physical Therapy is here to help you recover from your pain so you can get back out on the trail. If you or someone you know needs physical therapy following your hiking injury, contact us today!