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Last updated on February 24, 2020

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I know you have probably heard this phrase before.


Maybe it was said in a mean or sarcastic way.  But the truth is.  TAKING A HIKE  IS very good for you. Especially hiking in a natural setting like we have in Bella Vista.  Research is showing that there is certainly many benefits of hiking regularly.


Less Stress and better cognitive function


Text image with words"Yes, the ones who walked in a natural environment"



A study by Gregory Bratman, a graduate student in Stanford’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources indicated that time in nature was found to have a positive effect on mood and aspects of cognitive function, including working memory, as well as a dampening effect on anxiety.  The study had participants walking 50 minutes in a natural environment and 50 minutes in an urban environment.  Guess which group were less stressed, had less anxiety and increased their work performance?

There are definite mental health benefits of hiking in a peaceful rural setting as opposed to an urban setting.

Better Sleep Quality

image of sleeping woman


Those who exercise regularly have better sleep – without waking up as much during the night and tend to wake up refreshed.

This was studied by the National Sleep Foundation.

Plus, contrary to what many of us have believed, exercising before bed was not detrimental to sleep quality.

Connecting with Nature

According to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, while physical activity has a multitude of benefits, exercising outdoors has even greater benefits:

  • it reduces stress in a natural way
  • it promotes alertness and
  • increases attention span

Getting out and away from the hustle and bustle of an urban life can put you into a meditative space, almost like self-hypnosis.

Senior using a walker image

Hiking Strengthens Your Bones

It is proven that hiking and other weight-bearing exercise increases your bone density.  As we age, our bones will begin to lose density and the risk of osteoporosis increases drastically. Osteoporosis causes bones to become frail and porous.  Falling with porous bones can result all too often in fractures, especially of the hip.  Research indicates that 1 in 5 persons with hip fractures will have fatal complications within 1 year.  There is also the much-increased need for those with hip fractures to enter assisted living and care facilities.

Exercise, like hiking, is a good idea for achieving better bone health.  You can also supplement with Vitamin D and calcium (more about that in a later post).


Promotes Natural Healing

Huffington Post article details research suggests hiking is a way for cancer patients to recover more quickly.  They measured this through“oxidative stress”, which is believed to play a role in the onset and severity of cancer. The research found that long hikes have antioxidant properties to fight off disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, walking a half hour every day will help battle viruses, chronic conditions and extend your life, so this half hour is important – even if you need to start slowly – a few minutes at first and then increasing the length and difficulty gradually.


woman on top of mountain imageHiking Helps Keep our Heart Healthy

Hiking up and down hills counts as cardiovascular exercise.  This workout will help keep your heart in shape and pumping well.  Of course, if you are just starting out, you should take it easy for a while and work up to the “pumping heart” level.


Hiking Helps With Controlling Your Weight

Hiking can burn up around 250 calories an hour.  Also, continued hiking will allow you to keep the weight off once you lose it.

Check out my friend, Karthik’s, post with more information on 23 ways hiking makes you healthier



“Hiking exercises your body and your mind, and nourishes your imagination,” says Ignacio Malpica, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in Boulder, Colorado. “It creates awareness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses.”


Moving our body in an exercise like hiking can help many parts of your body ( feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips, butt, abdomen, arms, shoulders and neck).

Living in and near a natural environment like Bella Vista, we are fortunate to have miles upon miles of trails with pleasant, even beautiful views of waterfalls, rolling hills, forests, and lakes. Our mild weather also allows for the practically year-round ability to get outside and take to the trails.

Hiking can be done alone or with a group such as the Hill N Dale Hiking Club here in Bella Vista.



The Bella Vista Online Mall’s Hiking Shop” offers various equipment you may want if you take up regular hiking. Take a few minutes to check out the products in the shop.


I enjoy getting your comments and questions.  You may leave them in the form below. – Shirley


  1. A friend of mine loves to hike. He lives in Scotland. And every time he visits Singapore, we would meet up. And every time we meet up, I would find myself walking a lot! He would say he needs to run errands. So we would walk to many different areas in Singapore so that he can complete his errands while we chat and catch up. At some point of time, I commented, “You know. Every time we meet, we walk a lot.”

    He would grin. And now I know the reason. He loves to hike, and this is his way of hiking in a metropolitan city. Haha

    And now, thanks to your article, I know the benefits of hiking. And guess what? I will start to do a lot of walking on my own from now own. Here’s to our good health!

    • Timotheus, thank you for visiting my site and reading my hiking article. Hiking is a great pastime, fun AND great for your health. My husband loves to hike and its good for him as a former cardiac patient (he’s had 4 by-passes). Ever since his heart attack and surgery, he has been doing lots of exercises – walking, hiking, classes, pickleball and more) His docs all say he is doing wonderfully. One day when I get out of this wheelchair I hope to do some slow, mild walking in the beautiful Ozark hills we live in. Thanks again for your comment. – Shirley

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