Nature is central to our physical and mental health. Without prioritising time for walks in nature, we set ourselves to a path filled with ever-growing responsibilities without the possibility to reflect.
Spending time in nature doesn’t require you to be an experienced hiker and invest in all sorts of equipment. You can start by exploring the forested parks in your city while wearing the trainers you already own.
If you are having a stressful day, a short walk between the giant trees can help lift your mood. People who spend more time reconnecting with nature are better problem solvers, according to a study published by the University of Kansas.
Not only that, but walking in nature can help you concentrate and perform better at work. Additionally, nature can help you strengthen your relationships with people that bring value to your life and get rid of toxic friendships.
Individuals who walk in nature regularly, not only have overall better physical health but can cope with stress better. Some studies also claim that mental conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder can be somewhat relieved if spending time in nature on a daily basis.
Why Walking in Nature Works
Like every other animal species inhabiting the planet, we have developed to coexist with nature. Even though our current lifestyle dictates busy schedules and life in high-rising buildings, we still remember and yearn for the vastness of the natural world.
Many people claim they feel more energised and fresh whenever they spend time outdoors. Walking offers you the possibility to combine both exercise and nature at once.
Social isolation is an issue many of us had to go through during the pandemic. Walks in nature help alleviate the feeling of loneliness and help regain mental health balance.
According to a study published by Harvard Medical School, walking in nature can affect your mental health the following ways:
- Lifts your mood
- Reduces stress
- Helps with depression
- Relieves different forms of anxiety
- Improves memory
- Helps with grieving for the loss of a loved one
Another study that goes further into analysing the benefits of walking in nature shows how walking in nature improves our cognitive functions.
There is a massive body of evidence to show how a simple walk in the forest can benefit you. Proving that nature works for our benefit is great, but what’s even better is taking the time to get the most out of it.
If you want to take up walking in nature, a safe place to start is your local park. If the area you live in has forested grounds, that’s even better. You can explore, destress and get in a better physical and mental shape while staying in a place where it is easy to find your way out.
On the other hand, if you opt to start walking in a nearby forest, make sure you follow a marked route and pack a bottle of water and some healthy snacks to keep you fuelled.
And if you have kids, why not make nature walks more exciting, educational and engaging! Here are a few ideas.
Hippocrates, the father of western medicine said, “Walking is the best medicine”. Modern medicine is discovering the Greek medical genius was absolutely right – walking can improve your overall well-being and set you up for a life filled with positivity.