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Hike to Get High

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You should probably go on a hike and here’s why:

Those who hike regularly will agree with me, there’s nothing like a good hike. The feeling of waking up early, packing a lunch, or possibly food for a few days, filling your pack with trail mix and other necessities, lacing up your boots and heading out the door is a one of a kind feeling. And now according to science there’s even more reason to love hiking,

Hiking makes you happy. There is nothing that boosts my mood more than a good hike. I find that being among the trees and escaping the urban reality calms me. Stopping to breathe in the scents of the forest, noticing the silence and subtle movement around me quiets the chaos in my mind. And that’s not just my opinion, there is science to back the positive mental benefits of hiking. A cognitive neuroscience study done by Stanford’s Gregory Bratman demonstrated that 90 minutes of walking in nature decreased the neural activity associated with negative moods.

Hiking is exercise. People often forget that hiking is physical exercise, but between the steep climbs, heavy packs and constant movement, hiking is one heck of a workout. A hike that I will never forget is the Skyline Loop Trail at Manning Park. We camped two nights at one of the Lightning Lakes campsites. We woke up early that morning, hoisted our daypacks and headed off. Our initial plan was to hike to the top and back again, but when we got to the top we scrapped that plan and did the full 25km loop, up a mountain, around the top, and back down the other side. I was worried whether I’d be able to walk the next day, but I sure got a good workout. Hiking is a great way to get exercise without thinking about it.

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