If you are looking for a stress-busting, peaceful workout, then look no further than a good pair of hiking shoes. Spending time in nature comes with tremendous health benefits. Studies have shown that it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, and promotes a healthier microbiome. Japanese Forest Bathing has been associated with reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Hiking is the perfect way to get both exposure to nature and exercise at the same time.




As we build a resistance to spending so much of our time indoors, it’s only natural that we look for ways to take our workouts outside. The benefits of yoga are numerous, and it’s not likely to ever go away. However, hiking is moving to the forefront as the go-to workout to unwind for a number of reasons, which extend beyond the fact that it’s the perfect instagrammable activity.


Hiking is meditative

The rhythmic, repetitive motion of hiking is meditative. The constant stepping, calms you down, decreases stress responses, and lowers cortisol levels in the body. Furthermore, being in nature also allows us to tune in to our body’s natural rhythms, which is important to our general health. It has been shown that people who are regularly exposed to natural surroundings, experience a decreased incidence of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, headaches, and a general reduction in overall inflammation.


It’s the perfect way to unplug

Our daily lives have become so  insanely frantic, and with the evolution of smartphones many of us find it difficult to truly switch off. Heading out into nature, even for a few hours’ hike, provides the opportunity to completely unplug, and absorb our surroundings without interruption.


Hiking burns calories

Hiking can be as strenuous as we want it to be and can challenge our heart and muscles.  A moderate one-hour uphill hike can burn around 400 calories (for someone who weighs about 64kg), which is similar to an hour’s slow jog on a treadmill. It’s easy to see why celebrities like Jennifer Garner regularly favour a hike to the gym. You can get all the physical and mental benefits, plus a hit of nature too.



It’s great for your core

Scrabbling up paths and jumping over rocks and streams firms up the core and sculpts the lower body too. As the gradient goes up, so do the benefits. Walking uphill has a similar effect to using the StairMaster in the gym, or doing repeated lunges. Hiking can be a great lower-body workout.


Hiking can help fight osteoporosis

The effects of walking are especially important for women.  As we get older our bones get weaker, women are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis. Hiking is great at building up bone density and to help counter this weakening.


You don’t need to be a fitness fanatic

Hiking is perfect for beginners or seasoned fitness fans alike. You don’t need to be fit to go for a hike, you can start at any level and take it as slowly as you like.



In addition to a good pair of shoes, here are some other hiking gear suggestions to make your time outdoors even more enjoyable.


For the always insta-ready fashion hiker

Hiking gear

1. Columbia Pardon My Trench Jacket Flint, R1659 BUY

2. Puma Performance Ambition Back Pack White/Black, R999 BUY

3. iKlip Grip Pro Selfie Stick, R1099 BUY

4. Puma Performance PR Mobile Armband Pink, R349 BUY

5. Adidas Performance DRST ASK SPR 3S Bra Green, R649 BUY

6. Nike Performance W 10K 2IN1 Shorts Black, R449 BUY

7. Reebok Performance Split Flex Sport Shoes Multi, R1499 BUY


Essential gear for the more serious hiker

Hiking Gear

1. Misfit Vapour Watch Black, R3999 BUY

2. Ogio Hydration Baja 2L Black, R2359 BUY

3. Puma Performance Running Cap III Green, R269 BUY

4. Sunumbra SPF40 Sports Edition Sunscreen, R359 BUY

5. Under Armour UA HG Armour Leggings Branded WB Black, R799 BUY

6. Asics Performance Road Quarter Socks Coral, R199 BUY

7. Merrell Siren Q2 Black, R1899 BUY





(RELATED POST: The great outdoors – Warm weather workouts)

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