Top 10 Health Benefits of Trekking / Backpacking

Ben Earwicker,

There’s something inherently majestic, satisfying and refreshing of traversing a span nature for a period of time with nothing but what you can carry on your back. From the invigorating sights to the quiet moments of self-reflection, trekking and backpacking the outdoors provides a number of health benefits ranging from physical to mental to spiritual. Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:

  • Cardiovascular strength – Because backpacking requires covering large distances, usually by walking  up and down hills and mountains, the heart has to pump harder to keep up with the oxygen demand. Though trekking is not necessarily a highly intense sport, the heart rate does maintain a steady, increased rate, increasing blood flow to the muscles and the brain.
  • Weight loss – Climbing, dodging around boulders and lights runs and sprints is common while on trekking tours.  These physical activities eventually help shed unwanted fat and water weight. In fact, 12 weeks of trekking at a moderate level of intensity on a regular basis can lead to significant weight loss.
  • Builds a robust heart – Trekking is a great bet for those who wish to keep their hearts healthy and agile. while trekking, a person has to climb up and down which making the heart pump blood with vigorously and building cardiac muscle.
  • Cleanses the lungs – In India, for example, trekking tours are conducted to allow trekkers to inhale clean air. Most trekking tours are organized away from human population which automatically means that the flora bear little effects of human activities while the extensive growth and vegetation found in nature preserves helps ensure that the air is far cleaner than in metropolitan areas.
  • Builds strong bones – Trekking requires optimum effort from the human body, as it requires stretching, jumping, climbing and dodging at several intervals.  Such small burst of exercises at regular intervals during a trek help make bones stronger. Backpackers also have the added beneficial burden of carrying supplies, such as water, first aid kids, clothes and even camping equipment such as tents (if they were camping) which would mean added weight on the shoulders and spine. If carried properly, this weight training can help add on bone density thereby achieving overall fitness.
  • Agile muscles – The one thing that a trekker would surely achieve while on a trekking tour is excellent muscle strength. The energy and strain that a trekker requires while on a trekking tour – be it on the Himalayas or any other challenging topography would undoubtedly lead to exercising of each and every muscle in the body, from the core abdominal muscles to the quads and calves, thus making body flexible and muscles agile.
  • Cool mind and excellent focus – Trekking and backpacking often require the hiker be focused on their activity. To do that, the hiker must clear his thoughts and prepare his mind to face topographical challenges. This is especially true for those trekkers that undertake India trekking tours, as spiritualism is one of India’s most potent touristic draws.  It also helps, that most India adventure trekking tours have some connection or the other with one religion or the other thus helping a trekker feel that calm that come with such places.
  • Interval training – Interval cardio involves short bursts of exertion, and trekking is an excellent example. Trekking involves walking up and down hills and possibly climbing. Walking uphill will bring your heart closer to an hiker’s target aerobic rate, while walking downhill will give your heart rate a chance to recover. Climbing can also bring your heart rate up to aerobic levels, but also can work the leg, arm, and core muscles providing the added benefit of strength training. Interval training helps the metabolism function better, burning more calories for a longer period of time than steady cardio workouts.
  • New look on workout – Trekking can be as easy as walking in your neighborhood, or as difficult as a mountain climb depending on one’s current physical activity level. Unlike the treadmill, trekking offers new scenery, different terrain, and requires almost no equipment.
  • Mental benefits – Stress can disrupt your everyday life, causing health problems and depression. Trekking is a great way to reduce the stress in your life, because of the release of endorphins, which are known to make us happy! Taking in the fresh air and nature around you while trekking is a great way to help improve your mental health, and it is believed to also improve memory and functionality of the brain. Breathing in the fresh air, as well as seeing plants and animals can also give you a better appreciation of the world and a sense of calmness and joy.

If you enjoy trekking, read the:

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Top 10 Health Benefits of Hiking

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