Is your mobile always at the ready? Push notifications activated? Constantly chiming as the WhatsApps pour in? You didn’t really want to look at your phone, but somehow you just couldn’t help it? Then, suddenly, in the middle of the supermarket you realise you’ve left it at home – and break out in a sweat and start to panic! You can’t get the latest news out of your head even though Trump’s last tweet hardly offered profound insight?
Then it may be time for a little (or total) digital detox. And hiking is, in particular, a great way to counteract this digitally-induced stress. Firstly, even just being in nature improves our health. The air is not as polluted as in towns and cities so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get the required oxygen – lower blood pressure can be just one of the instant positive effects. If you step into a forest, things get even better. Studies have shown that so-called ‘forest bathing’ even leads to lower levels of cortisol – the ultimate stress hormone. And don’t forget the sun, which certainly shouldn’t be a problem for Mallorca’s residents, needed to trigger the production of the all-important vitamin D.
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To ensure that hiking serves as a genuine digital detox, you must of course be sure to leave your mobile behind. Only then will you be able to really switch off. With all the news, advertising, and all kinds of information, our minds are constantly bombarded, and without your phone in your pocket you will free yourself from the compulsion of staring at the screen, finger scrolling through a feed. Hiking solo is even recommended if that’s your thing. Out in the countryside, your thoughts can relax and flow more freely. You can focus on you, contemplate your own problems, and gain a greater perspective on – and distance from – the many unimportant things that surround us.
Hiking is a sport, which we all know we should do more of. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends adults aged between 18 and 64 years do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (for example hiking, dancing, cycling) although 300 minutes is better! This equates to at least 20 or 40 minutes a day; or alternatively join the popular 10,000 steps a day trend. Your muscles and bones will thank you for it, plus it reduces the risk of depression and chronic illnesses too.
Doing exercise, focusing on what’s important, and spending time surrounded by nature are all things that are enjoyable as they are good for you. What’s more, it’s a wonderful experience exploring the ravines of the Tramuntana mountains, visiting old monasteries, or walking to the beach full of anticipation of that cooling dip in the water. Now who could say no to a relaxing day of healthy hiking?
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