How Hiking Can Improve Mental Health and Wellness

As a partner at Granite Point Capital, Scott Bushley leverages more than 20 years of experience to manage business functions and solve operational issues as they arise. Away from work, Scott Bushley enjoys skiing, biking, and hiking.

Beyond its physical benefits as a form of exercise, hiking can significantly improve mental health and well-being, as highlighted by numerous studies. A recent one, for example, found that after 90 minutes of walking in a natural environment, people prone to negative thoughts experienced fewer of them and had reduced neural activity in the part of the brain associated with mental illness.

Researchers have also linked aerobic exercises such as hiking to improved cognitive ability and memory. Hiking has been shown to boost brain power and may improve creative problem-solving and lower anxiety. Additionally, a study conducted by David L. Strayer from the University of Utah and Ruth Ann Atchley from the University of Kansas found that individuals who were prohibited from using technology during a four-day backpacking trip demonstrated increased problem-solving abilities by 50 percent.

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