A walk in nature is a fantastic way to boost your mood and improve your health. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors in a natural environment can reduce stress, increase productivity and enhance your sense of well-being.
It’s important to note that these benefits aren’t just limited to mental health, as physical activity in a green environment can also help with weight management.
1. Reduce Stress
Taking a walk in nature is a great way to reduce stress. Many urban environments are filled with concrete, noise, and bright lights that can leave us feeling tense and depressed.
But a recent study published in Scientific Reports has found that walking in green spaces directly reduces our stress responses. The researchers tested this by conducting an MRI scan of the amygdala of 60 people who had been randomly assigned to either a 60-minute urban walk or a 60-minute walk through a forest.
Besides decreasing stress levels, walking in natural environments can also improve your attention. The researchers found that walking in a green space decreased self-reported rumination and increased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is associated with focusing.
2. Boost Mood
If you’re feeling a bit depressed, walking in nature can boost your mood. This is because of ‘Attention Restoration Theory’ which says that the time you spend outdoors allows your mind to relax, giving you the chance to think more clearly.
Moreover, being outdoors has been linked to better blood pressure and oxygenation. It also helps you to get more restful sleep which has a positive impact on your mood and wellbeing.
In addition, a number of studies have found that time spent in nature can help lower your risk for depression and anxiety disorders, and is even a potential treatment for those suffering from the two. However, despite this evidence, research is still very much in its early stages.
3. Recharge Your Batteries
It’s a known fact that time spent in nature can improve both mental and physical health. Studies have found that walking in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue while improving cognitive function.
It can also help you lose weight. If you’re overweight, a walk in the park or a stroll in the forest can boost your metabolism and burn calories more quickly, helping you to lose weight faster.
It’s important to make sure you have a way to charge your electronics when you’re hiking. This is especially true if you are going for an extended hike where the trail may not have convenient power outlets.
4. Relax Your Mind
A walk in nature can be a great way to relax your mind. It can help you forget about all of your daily problems, worries, and stressors.
Getting out into the natural world can also be calming for metaphysical reasons, such as being in an environment that makes you feel more connected to the Earth’s energy field. It can even increase your self-esteem and confidence.
A recent study found that people who walked in nature experienced less anxiety, rumination (focused attention on negative aspects of themselves), and positive emotions than those who walked in an urban setting. The participants also performed better on cognitive tests.
5. Boost Creativity
Whether you are trying to brainstorm a new idea or simply want to relax and think more creatively, walking in nature can be a great way to get the juices flowing. Not only is it good exercise, but it also triggers gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that reduces stress and improves your mood.
Moreover, according to a recent study from Stanford University, walking in nature can boost creativity. In fact, research conducted by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz found that participants who walked outdoors were more creative than those who walked indoors.
The researchers tested 176 college students and other adults in four experiments. In each, participants completed a task commonly used to measure creativity.