It’s difficult to stay motivated to maintain a fit lifestyle. Going to the gym on a nice day can sometimes feel like a boring chore. Getting outside and hiking through the summer breeze is an easy way to stay healthy this summer. Hiking can provide immense health benefits for both the body and mind that you may not have previously considered. Hiking is a low impact activity, meaning that you get many important cardiovascular benefits but with minimum stress on your body. Here are some other benefits of hiking you probably didn’t know about:

Lowers your risk of high blood pressure: Not only is hiking fun, it’s really great for your body. Close to ⅓ of Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension and hiking regularly has been proven to lower blood pressure by 4-10 points.

Enhances your creativity: Improving your body is just as important as improving your mind and hiking does just that. Your performance on creativity is said to be increased by a full 50% after becoming a hiking regular.

Tones your body: Let’s be honest, we’ve all wished that we had a better toned body. The difference between hiking, and walking on a level path, is that hiking propels your body forward over rocks and hills giving you a much more intense overall workout, particularly for the lower body.

Controls your addictions: No matter who you are, you have probably been addicted to something, whether it be alcohol, tobacco, certain foods, or even coffee.  We could all use something to break our patterns of addiction. Hiking gives you an opportunity to let go of these cravings and release dopamine (the feel-good chemical released in the brain) in a much more natural way.

Live a fuller life. We all want to live a complete and happy life. Hiking for 7 hours a week can lower your risk of dying early by 40%.

Hiking can be incredibly beneficial for your mood, mindset, and body. So go enjoy the fresh air and improve your life in ways you didn’t think existed.