Backpacking is one of the best ways to get outside and explore places you’ve never visited. It turns out backpacking has numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. It is also accessible compared to various sports. If you’re interested in backpacking, you’ll be happy to learn that regardless of your ability level or age, there is always an appropriate challenge for you. Seven health benefits associated with backpacking include:
1. Full-Body Conditioning
Some research has been carried out, and it has been found out that when you move the largest muscle groups in a challenging manner when backpacking, your heart and lungs will become stronger and work harder with each step you take; this usually helps to wade off conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
When backpacking in rain, you most likely have to step through heavy mud and maybe continue your trail with some soaked clothing, but, the extra effort is a good way to lose weight while building your muscle tone. This helps reduce the effects of osteoporosis and arthritis. By increasing bone density and ensuring your joints are agile, you can prevent the negative impact associated with remaining sedentary without the risk of sustaining injuries that higher-impact exercises can cause.
2. Improve Sleep Quality
Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. If you don’t challenge your body, you will not have the best quality sleep. Backpacking helps to improve sleep quality and is an essential form of exercise because every part of your body is being stimulated. Studies have showcased that our natural sleep cycle kicks in when we’re exposed to nature, and our overall sleep quality will improve significantly. Backpacking also helps the body to alleviate stress and anxiety, which puts your body in a state of relaxation, which even tually leads to a well-needed nap.
3. Your Lower Body Strength Will Improve
Backpacking usually activates your spine and legs for lower-body workouts. To be prepared for backpacking, you need a stabilized lower back which you can achieve through hamstrings and stronger quads. Increased reflexes and balance are an added bonus that will ensure your backpacking benefits carry into your daily life even when you aren’t backpacking.
You’ll notice more ease when taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Your lifting ability will also improve, and you’ll have added power when handling different activities involving the lower body. You can also find trails that maximize leg training, of which incline areas are preferable because of the added challenge.
4. Boost Happiness
Physical exercise promotes the release of brain chemicals, such as endorphins, that usually trigger positive feelings. Backpacking, however, usually elevates your mood more compared to when you’re taking a regular walk in the neighborhood.
If you want to boost your happiness, go backpacking with friends. Social interaction with people you have a bond with is a major ingredient for well-being and happiness.
5. Fresh Air and Sunshine
The experience of exercising in the sun as you breathe in fresh air is unbeatable. When you’re exposed to the sun, you take in vitamin D. Sun exposure also triggers the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps you stay focused and calm. Your circadian rhythms will also balance because of sun exposure.
Combine each of these benefits associated with sun exposure with breathing fresh air, and your well-being and health will improve significantly, and that’s what backpacking can offer. However, even with vitamin D production being beneficial, you need to apply sunscreen when backpacking to minimize the effects of ultraviolet rays produced by the sun.
6. Backpacking Builds Community
Backpacking is one of the activities that can help build a community. Through backpacking, it is possible to forge new friendships. Also, such activities can offer social support, and feelings of fear and doubt will be easily alleviated.
If you feel you need to be a part of a community, you should try backpacking. It is a good way to meet like-minded individuals.
7. Exposure to Nature
Backpacking not only has physical benefits, but you get to experience nature in its “untouched” form. You’ll be exposed to all things nature through backpacking, and your overall quality of life will improve significantly. Depending on your trail, you can watch wildlife live and coexist in its natural habitat. You can also come across nature views that are photo-worthy.
There are numerous benefits associated with backpacking; however, we’ve limited ourselves to seven major benefits. We’ve looked into both physical and mental health benefits. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert, backpacking is an experience that benefits your body and self and provides you with memories that’ll last a lifetime.