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4 reasons to hike

Walking is good for your condition and getting a breath of fresh air is wonderful. But there are more reasons to get out and about for a walk. In this article we share 4 more great reasons to go for a walk. Do you already have your walking shoes ready?

1. You can have nice conversations while walking

Freud already knew that eye contact is not at all conducive to conversation. So he left his clients on the couch or went for a walk with them. This often led to a much more open exchange of views. No wonder there are so many walking coaches these days! Another plus of walking is that keeping silent together is also okay. Then you are just busy looking at the environment – ​​and you automatically find a topic for conversation. And then there is also the effect of the movement itself, says professor of neuropsychology Erik Scherder:“Movement activates, among other things, the areas of the brain that are also involved in language. So it makes sense that a long walk makes you talkative.”

2. Walking helps you let go

Walking gives you distance and makes you look at your life with new eyes. It is somewhat like mindfulness:the grinding in your head stops, you are lifted out of time for a while. Writer Herman Post beautifully articulated that effect as moments of perfect happiness, in which he had nothing left to wish for. He didn't look back to what lay behind him, nor did he anxiously look forward to what was to come. Especially in the beautiful Austrian nature you can completely disconnect from both past and future and really enjoy the here and now.

3. Walking takes you further

Physical processes can influence our thoughts and feelings, research shows. Smooth and fluid movement gives us more positive emotions and memories than "sharp, heavy" movements such as strength training. Walking is such a smooth forward movement. As we move forward, the processes in our brains associated with progress naturally become more accessible. This automatically puts you in the mood to take steps, continue and move on. Your view will literally and figuratively broaden.

4. Walking makes you happy

When you walk, your brain produces the "happiness hormone" dopamine. But only if you keep going, neuropsychologist Erik Scherder says:“The movement must require effort. And you have to walk for at least thirty minutes, preferably three quarters of an hour.” Are you in pain or are you depressed? Then the production of dopamine brings your mood to a 'normal' level. But if you're already comfortable in your own skin, it can make you downright euphoric. The great thing is:the more often you walk, the faster that effect occurs. Your brain becomes conditioned to be happy as soon as it signals walking movements. As a novice hiker you need longer trips to get that nice feeling. But once you have experienced the effect, it can be recalled faster and faster.

Are you longing to catch your breath? In this free online special you will find everything you need for this. Learn how to calm yourself with your breath, how the mountain air makes your worries fade into the background and why walking gives your brain a boost.

– This article is a partner contribution of the Austrian Tourist Office –