Regular walking has a tremendous impact to human health, but there is an additional benefit to it if you do it in nature. According to studies, people have a higher tendency of being physically active if they are given easy access to green spaces. There is just something about taking a walk in the park or trail that helps relieves stress and improve a person’s overall well-being. If you think you can’t afford to take a break to go for a walk in nature even only once in a while, here are compelling reasons to convince you to start doing so:
Walking in Nature Promotes Physical Health
The most obvious benefit of walking in nature is to the physical health. If you’re not into running, regular walking can be a great way for you to maintain a healthy heart. Walking is an excellent form of aerobic exercise and has been found to be effective in improving heart rate. By walking on a regular basis, you can cut your risk for coronary heart disease by up to 9.3%. It has also been found effective in lowering risk of diabetes by 12.3%. And, if you have hypertension, you can cut your risk by 7.2% by walking regularly. Another benefit of walking is that it helps improve balance and coordination and also strengthens the bones and muscles. According to one study, daily outdoor walking can help increase lumbar bone mineral density (BMD) among postmenopausal women suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Walking in Nature Promotes Mental Health
Perhaps the more interesting benefit of walking in nature is to the mental health. Based on studies, walking in nature can improve the mood as well as the short-term memory of individuals suffering from moderate to severe depression. It has also been found to be effective in improving the attention span of children who have ADHD.
Another benefit of walking in nature to the mental health is that it helps promote creativity. It’s not a secret that most of the historical geniuses we know made it a habit of including regular walks in nature to their daily routine. Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Einstein – being brilliant is one of the major things they have in common, but aside from that, another thing that puts them in the same pedestal is the fact that they all loved to take long walks every day. They took this time not only to take a break from work, but most importantly, to recharge their mental batteries. Their habit didn’t fail them, because it was usually during their daily stroll in nature that they were able to come up with dazzling ideas.
Aside from promoting creativity, taking daily walks in nature has been found to not only improve the memory, but to actually cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative mental diseases. In fact, some researchers have claimed that walking is the best medicine to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s. By walking five miles a day, those who suffer from the condition can cut the chances of it getting worse. Meanwhile, those who are healthy can strengthen their brain circuits and reduce their chances of ever developing Alzheimer’s disease.
There is no question as to how beneficial nature walks can be both to our physical and mental health. If you live or work somewhere with some green spaces nearby, take advantage of the opportunity to take a break, walk, and enjoy nature once in a while for the sake of your well-being.