Holidays in Italy for the body and brain
Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 30 Apr 2019
It’s hardly news that we need to be active if we want to enjoy a long and healthy life. In a world where most of us spend more and more time sitting in front of a computer, the importance of devoting a big chunk of our leisure time to active pursuits is fast gaining ground. So what is the best way of incorporating exercise into our daily life? We think the top priority is to find an activity that you enjoy, something that you look forward to, whether for its challenge, its sociability or simply the accompanying buzz.
At Hedonistic Hiking, the simple fact is that we’d rather be walking than doing almost anything else (although good food and wine comes a close second!). So what is it about walking that inspires so many people? We look at some of the benefits of hiking, trekking or just gentle rambling.
Walking for fitness
Hippocrates claimed that ‘walking is a man’s best medicine’ and he may just have been right. The long list of physical benefits includes healthier heart and lungs, stronger bones and better balance. Even as little as half an hour a day is beneficial, although we advise any guests who are new to walking to put in a little pre-trip ‘homework’ and gradually build up to walks of a similar length to those they’ll be doing on the tour. You can exercise different parts of your body with different routes and terrains, walking up hills for a great glute workout and to burn more calories and embarking on long flat walks for endurance.
Regular walking will also help you to lose weight. Unfortunately, we can’t promise overnight results on a Hedonistic Hiking holiday, but you can certainly enjoy the amazing Italian food and wine secure in the knowledge you’ll be burning off the extra calories!
Walking for healthy minds
The pleasure of spending all day outdoors is often cited as one of the main reasons for choosing a walking holiday and there’s no question that all that fresh air acts as a great stressbuster. Being amongst nature is the best way we know to eliminate those minor niggles, switch off from everyday angst and generally put things in perspective. Mood-improving and, at times, exhilarating walking can also be incredibly satisfying. If you’re building up to a holiday or specific event, our advice is to gradually increase your regular walks by adding extra minutes or steeper inclines and declines. On our tours, whichever hiking holiday in Italy you choose, you’ll find at least one day designed to challenge you to achieve your own personal best.
The really great thing about walking is that you see and hear things that you’d possibly miss if you were in a car, coach or train. Stop to admire flowers and listen to the birds, wander through out-of-the-way villages or simply pause to watch a changing cloud formation. On our guided Italy tours, you’ll discover the pleasure of walking through the menu, learning about the local agriculture and seeing what you’re likely to find on your plate that evening.
Connecting with people
Finally, we think one of the joys of walking is not just connecting with your surroundings, but also with your fellow hikers. On a guided walking holiday, you can enjoy some of Italy’s best hikes without worrying about the itinerary or directions, leaving you free to either chat as you go or enjoy walking in companionable silence.
If you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of a walking holiday to mental health, read Claire Rawlinson’s article in Psychologies Magazine.