What are the benefits of hillwalking?

5 key health benefits of hillwalking



S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
@ActiveLouise
Ask Louise


27 August 2021

What are the benefits of hillwalking?

There are several health benefits to be gained from hillwalking, including improved fitness, better sleep and better circulatory health. It is also good for mental health, including stress, anxiety and low mood. Other than this, it is a very social activity, providing an opportunity to meet people and spend time with others.

5 ways health benefits of hillwalking

Let's take a closer look at how hillwalking can benefit our health:

1. Fitness

Hillwalking is a cardio activity that gets the heart rate and breathing up. This means it is really great for our fitness. It also burns a number of calories so doing it on a regular basis can tone up the body.

The activity also requires a great deal of muscle strength, particularly in the legs! Making hillwalking a part of your routine can therefore increase flexibility and power in the muscles.


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2. Mood

Hiking outdoors can positively impact mood, stress and anxiety. There are a number of ways it does so:

  • Feel-good hormones are released during and after the activity
  • Hillwalking provides a distraction from other worries or concerns
  • Being outdoors exposes the body to vitamin D, a nutrient that has been found to play a role in regulating mood (1)
  • The sounds, sights and smells of nature can be calming and may help to deal with stress. (2)
  • Boosts self-esteem and confidence when walking goals are met.

3. Social

Hillwalking is a very sociable activity, whether you are just saying hello to other people on the hills or you venture up with family and friends. Walking clubs can also be a great way to meet people invested in the same interests as you.

A club has a number of other benefits too, such as providing opportunities to explore new areas safely and providing the opportunity to learn new skills from those already experienced in the sport.

Check what's available in your area and see if you can get started on a local walk soon!

4. Health

The health benefits that hillwalking has to offer are numerous. Weight and fitness, as mentioned, are just two areas that can see improvements.

On top of this, the activity is good for circulatory health, helping to improve the likes of blood pressure, heart health and blood flow.

Keeping up the activity may also reduce the likelihood of experiencing specific illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

5. Sleep

Most forms of exercise are good for sleep patterns and hillwalking is no different.

As hillwalking is a physically demanding activity, it can make it easier to fall asleep at night. Also, with the many benefits the activity can bring to mood and mental health, sleep may just come that little bit more quickly at night as stressful thoughts are more in control.

If you would like some tips on how to take up hillwalking, just check out my blog!

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