Walking is one of the best exercises there is. Walking in nature is even better! I love to take long walks in nature.
The peaceful feeling I get takes my mind off of the fact that I am even getting exercise. I always finish more relaxed and centered.
I used to think walking wasn’t enough for my exercise routine but when I was hit with some unexpected health issues that became chronic, walking was the only thing I could do without pain.
Walking kept me in shape and improved my mood. It helped me cope with my health issues and lifted me out of what could have been a deep depression.
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Walking at the gym just didn’t cut it for me, it was the element of being outside with the fresh air and sounds and feel of nature that always did the trick.
What are the health benefits of nature walks?
Studies have shown that walking in nature dramatically lowers cortisol levels compared to walking in a city or urban environment. When stressed our adrenal glands produce cortisol.
Many people are in a constant state of stress with work and home life and the high cortisol levels they experience daily can deplete the adrenal glands leading to adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue can be serious and debilitating. Spending time in nature not only reduces cortisol but it also helps to heal the adrenals.
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In other studies participants were shown to have better cognitive function and memory after a nature walk and children with ADHD also showed improvements in behavior and ability to focus.
Walking in nature also provides distraction from pain. The benefits of improved mood and mental health can also help to keep our minds off of pain. This is a great benefit for those recovering from surgery or people with chronic illness.
How does healing with nature work?
Nature is restorative. Science has shown that spending time in nature improves our ability to pay attention.
When we spend most of our time paying attention to tasks such as working or studying or what they call “directed attention” we eventually lose the ability to focus and it contributes to mental and physical fatigue.
We have all experienced this to one degree or another. For instance, I recently spent hours working on a project and I realized that I couldn’t think straight after a while.
I would take short breaks but I was having trouble and I wasn’t doing my best work. After taking a 20 minute walk on my local nature path I was able to get back to work feeling fresher and less fatigued.
The energy in nature is very healing. The high vibrations of the plants and all that nature has to offer increases our personal vibration. This is especially helpful for those that are in need of healing or better health and wellness.
How are nature and mental health linked?
Sunshine is one of the best ways to get vitamin D. 20 minutes a day without sunscreen is enough for your body to get what it needs. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression and other serious health conditions.
Aromatherapy is a benefit of being in nature. All the wonderful smells you experience while walking contribute to your well-being and offer the therapeutic benefits of plants.
Exercise and walking in general boosts your mental well-being and is one of the best ways to improve mental health.
Visual stimulation while walking can stimulate your creativity and mental alertness. This effect stays with you throughout your day.
We often feel a greater connection to everything when we are in nature. This can contribute to a greater sense of well-being and connection with those we encounter throughout the day as well as with our own body/mind/spirit.
Nature is filled with negative ions. Negative ions are created in nature and have healing effects. The beach or other moving water is a great place to get exposure to negative ions.
Trees also produce lots of negative ions so walking in a forest works well too.
Some of the benefits include helping to reduce stress and depression, Ease of breath for those with asthma. Increased oxygen levels help us relax and ease pain and increase cognitive abilities.
What is nature therapy?
“Nature Therapy is an innovative therapeutic framework that takes place through the direct and creative dialogue humans have with nature. It expands the classical concept of ‘setting’ while developing concepts and methods that place nature as a partner in the therapeutic process.” www.naturetherapy.org
Nature Therapy can be very beneficial for those in need of mental health therapy. The added benefits of being in nature increase the therapeutic effect of the therapy in general.
The main benefits of living close to nature
Close proximity to nature provides easy access and potential for engaging in nature on a more regular basis. You don’t have to go far to get the regular benefits. Working in nature is also a good way to improve your health as it Incorporates healthy benefits into your work day.
8 Ways to spend more time in nature daily
- learn to garden
- Find the nearest park or nature trail near your home or workplace.
- Find a profession where you can work outside on a regular basis.
- Plan group walks with friends.
- Take walks before or right after work.
- Find a group exercise class outdoors.
- Take your exercise device, mini tramp, stepper, Yoga mat, to the park or backyard.
- Take daily walks!
If you enjoyed reading about how nature can help dramatically improve your mood, please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Have a wonderful and healthy day
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