If you have read our blog for any length of time, you likely know that we love nature walks. I love them because I find them relaxing, and my kids love to explore. Recently I looked into some of the health benefits of nature walks – and I was surprised at all of the research and studies related to the health benefits of nature!
We are lucky to live walking distance to many forests, so we are very often found exploring, climbing, and learning in nature. At first it was a hobby. A way to get the little ones to burn off some energy. But over this past year, it has become much more – almost a life style. There is not a day that goes by that we are not outside playing – and not a week that goes by that we are not in the forest. After reading some articles and websites on the health benefits of nature – it is no wonder we enjoy it so.
Here are some amazing health benefits of nature walks:
1. Improves Immune Functioning. Walking through the forest for as little as 20 minutes improves your bodies ability to battle illness, and keep those “killer cells” high for a week. (More Information)
2. Improves Mood, Helps Improve Depression. A wonderful health benefit of nature walks is the improvement to mood. I have noticed this first hand – heading into the woods perhaps a little cranky with my wild little followers, and leaving with a smile on my face and my slightly-less wild little followers in tow. Research suggests that the simple quiet of nature, with nothing draining our attention, allows our involuntary attention to register quiet and calm scenery with all of our senses. This induces a more calm and pleasant state. (More Information)
3. Improves Memory. Along the same reasoning as above, walking in the woods has been shown to improve memory functioning. Allowing our mind to quiet and not be pulled in a million directions as with our regular lives, has been shown to improve our ability to recite numbers and improve memory in general. I am sure a lot of this has to do with ‘un-plugging’ while on a nature walk. (More Information)
4. Nurtures Creativity. Giving our mind time away from devices, and back into the natural world surrounding us has been shown to improve creativity by up to 50%! Should you be a writer, or perhaps write for a little website (ahem), and experience a bout of writers block – a stroll through the woods does a world of good! Personally, I simply walk and explore without thinking of ideas or activities, and before I know it I am full to the brim with thoughts and ideas (in fact, our ever popular Playdough Nature Walk Post was thought of in this exact way.) (More Information)
5. Sleep like a Baby. When I want to be extra sure my little ones have a good nights rest, I am sure to go for a nature walk. Research has shown that nature walking, especially later in the day, improves the amount, and quality of sleep people get. (More Information)
Seems worthwhile to take a stroll outside, right? Furthermore, from the research I have done, these benefits are not limited to forest-nature walks. Simply taking a stroll through a neighborhood park (un-plugged) has shown many similar benefits. Try choosing a place to walk that is away from cars and close to trees for maximum benefits.
Goes to show that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, the more time I spend researching and thinking about it the more simple it becomes. It’s all about getting back to the basics.