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If someone told you that going for a short hike once a week would dramatically improve your life, would you believe them? It’s true! By spending time in nature just once a week, you will lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, boost your mood and become more creative and a better problem solver.

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes

When it’s a beautiful day outside, who wants to run on a treadmill? Luckily, we have the great outdoors! Being active in any capacity helps lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. In fact, research has shown that there were 58% fewer cases of diabetes for groups that showed increased aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is difficult for most people, as it requires your heart to pump blood more quickly and your body to move in ways it’s not used to. Participating in aerobic exercise while surrounded by lush greens though makes it more enjoyable! So instead of hitting the gym next time you want to get a workout, find your closest hiking trail! You can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes while taking in a beautiful view.

Boosts your mood

Just 15-20 minutes a day in nature can have long term benefits on your health. Exercise produces endorphins, which takes away your stress and replaces it with happiness! The fresh air and the elements of Earth you will experience during a hike inevitably boost your mood. Because we are meant to be in nature much more often than our sedentary, 9-5 lifestyles allow, your body will thank you even more for this exposure to the outdoors.

Restores Creativity and Problem-Solving Abilities

Hiking has been proven time and time again to restore creativity and problem-solving abilities to those who partake in it. Through several experiments, David Strayer, a professor at University of Utah, has found that participants’ ability to problem-solve creatively increased drastically after spending several days hiking in nature. Why is this? Hiking allows your brain a much needed break from the constant stimulation you experience in your daily life. Then, once back into your daily routine, you will be able to approach problems more creatively and with a newfound perspective.

Hiking can range from an hour stroll in your local park to week-long backpacking trips in the wilderness. Do whatever you have time for, but make sure to get outside and on the hiking trail! With the proven benefits, there is no reason not to incorporate hiking into your life on a weekly basis.