The Benefits of Hiking and Why It Compliments a Plant-Based Diet

Hiking is a great way to get exercise and connect with nature, others, and ourselves. A whole food, plant-based diet provides an excellent foundation for exercise as eating nutrient-rich foods creates energy and you will find yourself more ready to workout and accomplish fitness goals.  With energy, it is possible to do more in a day including a challenging workout. We often think we lack motivation around exercise, but what really derails our workouts is feeling tired and exhausted from just our day-to-day activities. A plant-based diet offers plenty of natural fuel to do more. 

Why hiking? Hiking is fun and offers something for everyone. It can be as simple as taking a walk outside, or contain greater challenges such as steep inclines, obstacles, or a change in elevation. The fresh air cleanses the mind and body. In the peacefulness of nature, you can check in with yourself and see where you are in your health journey. By being aware of your body's response to exercise, you become more in tune with your health. Through hiking, we learn to appreciate the beauty of nature, and we become more aware of our role in taking care of the earth.

Below I'll discuss these benefits further and explain how hiking has helped me.

Exercise

There are hundreds of medical studies that prove that exercise is important to good health with notable benefits such as lowering the risk of chronic illness, strengthening bones and muscles, and burning calories, and the most innate exercise is walking. Trails range from the very challenging to more leisurely uninterrupted surfaces. As you seek out new and different trails, you can increase the intensity of your workout naturally, or simply challenge yourself to go farther each time.

When I worked out at a traditional gym, I was always checking the clock, counting reps in my head, or using TV or music to distract me. When I am hiking, I am in the present moment.  I am not dreading my workout or anticipating the end. I look at my surroundings, make new discoveries, admire natural beauty, and feel simple and whole. Each workout is different. Not knowing what is next on the trail keeps me agile and alert.