Hiking Benefits Your Well-Being
Researchers have discovered that using hiking as a complementary therapy can help people overcome severe depression, feelings of hopelessness, and even suicidal tendencies in distressed patients.
A 2015 study determined that walking in nature for 90 minutes increased positive thoughts and reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain responsible for mental illness. In contrast, walking in an urban setting increased negative thoughts as well as subgenual prefrontal cortex activity.
Hiking can still benefit the mind of people who are not struggling with depression, according to Leigh Jackson-Magennis, the Market Manager at REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach in New England. “Being out in nature, away from the business of our daily lives and technology, can allow people to connect with themselves and nature in a way that brings out peace and a sense of well being”, she told the Huffington Post.