Hiking is one of the most inexpensive and popular ways you can grab a short break from your hectic daily life. It is good for both your body and your mind.

It may seem a bit obvious that there are benefits to hiking. Getting out for a hike is a great form of exercise. However, simply burning some calories is not the only good aspect of hiking.

If you want a great workout, hiking can help you break into a good sweat. However, the level you exert yourself won’t be as high as other cardiovascular exercises. If you want to boost the cardio aspect of your hiking trip, there are a couple of things you can do.

First, make sure your hike lasts longer than 20 minutes. This ensures your heart rate has a chance to go up and start burning off your extra calories. However, even 20 minutes won’t help too much unless you are able to get out and walk every single day. If you want to really boost your stamina and get a good workout, aim to make your hike last for an hour at minimum. It may seem like a big task, however, if you think about it in terms of hiking, it’s just 30 minutes out and then 30 minutes to head back.

The other option is to increase your altitude. Look for trails that have a good change in elevation. It’s better to choose a trail that has a slight incline over the whole length rather than one that has a short, steep incline then is level the rest of the way. You need to be able to hike the trail for a good while, so you don’t want one that leaves you exhausted after just 200 feet.

Besides exercise, hiking has a great deal of benefits to your mind and mental health. Life is stressful and hectic, and this stress can slowly build up without you noticing. Hiking allows you to take a break from the daily grind. You have at least an hour to just hike, relax, and enjoy nature. Walking helps relieve stress, and the time away from your schedule allows your mind to wander freely without being interrupted. Many psychologists and therapists have noted that almost everyone can benefit from having some alone time where they can get away from the constant bombardment that other people, the telephone, and email can be. By the end of the hike, you will be feeling refreshed and will be ready to tackle your tasks or chores with a renewed perspective.

It is a well-established fact that hiking is great for you, both mentally and physically. However, the only way you can take advantage of these benefits is to get started and get out there. And make sure you leave your cell phone behind!