Annabelle Bond on the physical and mental benefits of hiking

Leaving a heat cosy home and heading out to the prime of a close-by peak or path, out of your consolation zone, takes motivation, however each difficult step brings nice profit. 

The well being benefits are monumental. The daylight boosts vitamin D. The exertion builds sturdy muscular tissues and bones whereas enhancing steadiness and coronary heart well being. Raising your coronary heart charge to a average stage improves health and endurance. Hiking is nice on your steadiness. Navigating by way of precarious rocky terrain forces your mind to be more proficient at judging obstacles and retains you targeted and agile. As you age, steadiness turns into crucial in avoiding falls. Hiking boosts your immune system, bolstering your physique’s pure capability to battle off illness. Beyond these physical benefits, being amongst nature in the nice open air contributes to raised mental well being than sitting in entrance of your display screen at residence.

Photo: Annabelle Bond

During Covid instances in Hong Kong between 2020 and 2021, hiking was important to the well-being of my pals and I. 

We revisited the Maclehose and Wilson path routes and loved the spectacular views of Hong Kong, like seashores and the dramatic night time skyline. This physical and mental escape was important to dealing with restrictions and household separations. Hiking is a worldwide exercise, even with out Hong Kong and Aspen’s beautiful landscapes. It’s an effective way to remain wholesome and in form while seeing totally different facets of a rustic.  

Hiking round the world has been an enormous half of my life. When I used to be a child, my dad took me up dormant volcanoes in Indonesia and over the peaks of Hong Kong, which ingrained a love of exploration and nature. In my early days of climbing, in all probability by way of my negligence as a hiker, my information wanted to show me the significance of the 5 P’s. I consider it is also utilized in navy coaching. The 5 P’s stand for “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” His pearls of knowledge caught. I want I had heard about the P’s earlier than discovering out the laborious manner.

Photo: Annabelle Bond

Years again, one summer season in Sun Valley, Idaho, leaving for an extended hike carrying nothing however a sports activities bra prime, shorts and a litre or so of water. It was baking scorching, and we have been headed on a day hike 3,000 ft up a rocky ridge. I loved the hike up the ridge, laughing and chatting with pals as we navigated to increased altitudes. As quickly as we hit the ridge summit, ominous black clouds approached quick and livid. Within minutes the temperature plummeted, and terrifying fork lightning lit up the ridge. We fled to shelter beneath a small cluster of bushes simply as the hail started. To say we have been frozen is an understatement. The six of us have been extremely unprepared, not appropriately dressed, and had no rain gear, no heat garments, no emergency blanket, no medical provides, and no meals. We huddled for about an hour with none aid in the climate. We determined our lives depended on protecting shifting to keep away from hypothermia. We ran for 2 hours down the mountain and fortunately survived to inform the story. I discovered a precious lesson on the significance of preparation. 

Photo: Annabelle Bond

Nowadays, I will not go away for a hike of any distance with out the 5 P’s. I carry every part in my rucksack, so I’m at all times ready. 

Another profit of hiking is the surroundings. On our Colorado hikes, I see fields of stunning mountain flowers and hearken to the rustle of the Aspen leaves on the bushes, spy deer, marmots, and eagles. Nothing makes me happier than being exterior, exerting myself and sharing that have with pals. More typically than not, our hikes result in a ravishing mountain lake the place the waters glisten magnificently blue from the melted glacial snow. If you need to take that exertion to a different stage, go swim and expertise the benefits of a chilly plunge. Always pack heat garments for the descent. 

Wherever you’re in the world, discover time to hike and take pleasure in the benefits.

Also see: Opinion: Annabelle Bond’s suggestions on how she will get her physique prepared for summer season

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