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Relaxation

Hiking – a treat for body, mind, and soul

As uncool as the term "hiking" may sound: it has long been known that walking in nature is beneficial for people. Released from a middle-class image, hiking is something now done throughout all age groups and it once again enjoys great popularity.

The transformation occurred in the mid-2000s. Since then, hiking has been trendy. Setting out on foot is part of the Zeitgeist, whether it's in the mountains or through the woods, along the ocean, lakes, or rivers. Modern human beings are seeking a healthy lifestyle. Hiking is an optimal way to be in contact with nature, to find the way to one's self, and to find opportunity to breathe deeply – far away from city noise and high-tech society.

A walk in the fresh air is a wonderful opportunity to unwind. The silence is relaxing and increases the feeling of well-being. But the athletic effect should also not be underestimated. Who would have thought that walking a certain distance requires twice as many steps as jogging the same distance, and that ultimately it consumes not significantly less energy? A person weighing 80 kilograms, for example, burns 240 calories while walking 4 km, while 30 minutes of jogging the same distance burns a mere 80 calories more. The useful and the pleasant can thus easily be combined.
 
A pleasure for the cardiovascular system 
Anyone who hikes regularly will find that positive health effects occur, e.g. improved blood pressure values, a lower heart rate, and a greater endurance. The risk of arteriosclerosis is also reduced, and thus the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Walks in the woods are particularly advantageous for the cardiovascular system, and they also improve the mood. The mere view of a forest has a calming effect and reduces stress hormones; the scent of leaves, needles, herbs, and the moist forest floor are also beneficial.

Anyone can start walking at their own rhythm or according to their own need, either by themselves or in a group, long or short distances. The routes certified by the German Hiking Institute are well marked and offer plenty of variety to a long distance hiker as well as to a person out on a stroll preferring less strenuous and shorter routes. The "Wispertalsteig" in the Rheingau district or the well-known "Rheinsteig" are highly popular hiking paths. An attractive, eventful path will ideally offer everything to a discerning hiker: Beautiful views, lakes, and mountain tops, woodlands, nature trails, and mountain cottages. A balm for the eyes and all senses.

Yet technology should also not be missing from the modern world of hiking: Newly developed hiking apps with GPS support will show the way for all those wishing to do without the weight of maps, compass, and books, and who also wish to be on the safe side in case of an emergency.

Further links:
www.welt.de
www.faz.net
www.spiegel.de
www.wanderinstitut.de