The Scientific Health Benefits of Yoga, Hiking & Meditation Outdoors

Everyone knows yoga, hiking and meditation are good for you but few are aware of the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of combining these activities while immersed in the great outdoors.

Up to 90% of adults in the US are thought to be Vitamin D deficient which has been correlated with increased risk of autoimmune disorders, common cancers and hypertension. Direct sun exposure is the best way to absorb Vitamin D. Just 10-15 minutes per day in the sun can increase calcium absorption, improve mood, memory & immunity and lower blood pressure.

Yoga is traditionally practiced with bare feet so you can enhance your practice by ditching the mat and practicing/meditating directly on some soft grass or bare Earth. Your skin acts as a conductor to absorb the naturally, negatively charged electrons on the Earth’s surface which can help stabilize our internal bioelectrical environment. This is believed to be important for balancing cortisol levels, regulating your circadian rhythms, improving circulation and reducing inflammation & chronic pain. This means you’ll feel more relaxed, sleep better and can slow the aging process thanks to an antioxidant effect similar to what some superfoods provide.

Studies on meditation have recorded decreases in stress, blood pressure, depression and anxiety which leads to improvements in mental and emotional health. It has also been shown to increase willpower, self-control and self-awareness.

Yoga and Hiking are incredibly complimentary. Yoga builds muscle strength while also maintaining flexibility, especially in the spine, hips and hamstrings. You will also likely notice improvements in balance, concentration and sleep. Regular aerobic exercise such as hiking has been linked to improved cardio-respiratory fitness and muscle tone. It’s a great way to build endurance, reduce your weight and lower your risks of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, depression and type 2 diabetes.

Infographic from  SmartHikr

Infographic from SmartHikr