Hiking has many benefits especially as we get older.
HEAD: Walking boosts circulation, triggers endorphins, decreases stress hormones and increases oxygen supply to a body’s cells. Research shows that walking has a statistically significant effect on the symptoms of depression.
HEART: Walking is more than twice as effective as running at fighting off heart disease, and an hour a day cuts the risk of heart attack in your 50s and 60s in half.
BONES: All exercise is good for the spine and studies have shown walking boosts bone density in spine and pelvis, reducing the chances of hip fractures by 40 per cent.
MUSCLES and AGEING: Walking prevents muscle wastage, triggers the cells’ anti-ageing processes and helps repair DNA. It also wards against brain shrinkage and increases memory, creativity, reasoning and sociability.
JOINTS: Research shows regular walking increases the levels of the ‘magic’ synovial fluid in your joints, causing the body to supercharge it with anti-inflammatory compounds.
LUNGS: An hour’s walk a day can reverse 30 years’ gradual aerobic capacity decline according to a US study which saw 50-year-old subjects regain the lungs of their 20-year-old selves.
WEIGHT: Insulin allows your body to absorb the energy in food, but also encourages long-term fat storage. Walking causes insulin levels to drop, at the same time increasing your muscle’s sensitivity to what insulin there is. By burning energy more efficiently and fat more readily, you halve the risk of obesity and cut the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 60 per cent.
CANCER: According to the World Cancer Research Fund walking seems to be one of the best weapons against cancer, with 10,000 cases of breast and bowel cancer preventable in Britain alone by spending an hour on foot.
Visit www.borderbushwalkingclub.com.au for more on walks available.