Smoky Mountain Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains – Here’s How
Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most relaxing ways to spend time in the area. Whether you’re hiking for exercise or you just want to get out and see the scenery throughout the park, hiking is a great way to spend a little time.
According to a Collective Evolution article, hiking actually changes our brains and we definitely agree! Here’s what they say:
Eliminates Negative Thoughts
Do you know that feeling of pure calm you get when you’re hiking in the Smoky Mountains? When you’re consumed by negative thoughts and the stress of everyday life, it can take the enjoyment out of life in general. It has been found that negative thoughts decrease by a significant amount when you spend time in nature.
Disconnects You from Technology and Increases Creativity
Many of you who love hiking in the Smokies also really enjoy disconnecting from technology. Many people enjoy leaving their smartphones, computers and technology behind for at least a few hours while you spend time in nature. In a recent study, psychologists found that disconnecting from technology boost creative problem-solving. These researchers came to the conclusion that technology is actually quite disruptive and taxing to our cognitive functions because our devices are so demanding throughout the day.
Improves ADHD in Children
A study has shown that hiking can help anyone who has difficulty paying attention or experiencing impulsive behavior. This is especially true for children with ADHD or children experiencing signs and symptoms of ADHD. Getting your kids out in nature and exposing them to “green outdoor activities” can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
Exercise Boosts Brainpower
Of course, exercise has many benefits and the great thing about Smoky Mountain hiking is that you barely even notice you’re getting exercise! Since you love spending time in the national park, the exercise doesn’t even phase you – you’re just enjoying time in nature!
Hiking can burn up to 700 calories per hour depending on the difficulty of the hike. If you want to be more active, hiking is actually one of the best things you can do because it’s been proven that people are more likely to stick to outdoor exercise as opposed to regularly visiting a gym.
According to a study by the University of British Columbia, aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume which is the part of the brain associated with spatial and episodic memory especially in women over age 70.
Hiking can improve a variety of brain functions, including memory loss and anxiety as well as increase self-esteem and release endorphins.
Start Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the best place to start hiking! Plus, doesn’t hiking sound better than visiting a doctor for some of these conditions? There are over 800 square miles of hiking trails in the national park and there’s a hiking trail that’s perfect for everyone. Here are a few posts that will help you get started with your next hike in the Great Smoky Mountains:
If you’re a new hiker, try these 9 Easy Hikes in the Smoky Mountains.
If you’re visiting in the springtime, try these 4 Spring Hikes in the Smoky Mountains.
If you’re looking to see a waterfall, visit these 9 Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails with Waterfalls.