6 Refreshing Mental Health Benefits of Walking in Nature

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Can you remember the last time you spent quality time with some trees and grass? Global pandemic makes us stay at home most of the time. Though it’s for the better, staying at home for too long is not actually that healthy. Even elderly still need to have those health benefits of walking for seniors.

Well, though we’re surrounded within our own walls, a bit of nature at home can help us to overcome the negative effects of this global pandemic. The findings are based on a survey of 3,000 adults in Tokyo, Japan.  

Researchers observed a link between depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness with the frequency of green space use. 

They found more frequent utilization of green space, including viewing green landscapes from home windows, was associated with increased self-esteem, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, as well as decreased levels of depression and loneliness.

The environment can serve as a buffer to reduce the adverse impact of highly stressful events on humans. Health expert at Harvard Medical School, Jason Strauss, said interacting with nature offers relaxing therapist benefits, lowering blood pressure, and cortisol stress hormone levels, both visually and soundly.

Trees and greenery help distract from negative thinking so that the mind is not filled with worries. One can enjoy it, by walking.

As simple as it sounds, doing some walking is very easy. Though it’s simple, it may bring health benefits of walking for diabetic patients, which is great. 

Rather than exploring shopping malls, it’s better to walk in nature to get all these benefits, such as :

Mental Health Benefits of Walking in Nature

  • Better Mental Condition

Similar to health benefits of brisk walking, walking in natura can also help you to improve better mental condition by making your mind stay refreshed and focus, as proven before in Environmental Science and Technology study.

Improved mental health is also long-lasting, maintaining its effects even three years after doing it. The study adds to growing evidence in favor of integrating more green spaces such as public parks in cities to improve public health.

Now this can be a note to city planners to create wider parts of green areas, remembering the long-term benefits that could be achieved by inhabitants.

  • Reduces Depression

A study published in PNAS in 2015 found that participants who walked for 90 minutes through a green park on campus, rather than walking near a nearby highway, showed the brains were “calmer” and paid less attention to negative aspects of their lives. 

This created a decrease in activity of prefrontal cortex, which is associated with depression. Basically, walking in nature is shown to have an almost direct positive effect on overall mood. 

While approaching this method, consume something healthy like health benefits of maral root as well.

  • Calmer State of Mind

Now, we can see this benefit based on a study in 2018, that studying about the areas of nature that’s mostly affecting someone’s state of mind. We can see that they did it in order to determine which of the areas that could be effective to relieve stress for preventing depression.

They used the three main levels of nature environment, each with their own specifications, like the public parks, other calmly locations like gym, and the final one is the forest.

The researchers found that visiting both green environments was helpful in reducing signs of physical and psychological stress in participants, but people in the wilderness reported the most significant reduction in depression levels, making it more effective than the two.

If you really want to make the most of your time outdoors, a hiking or camping trip might be the best option.

  • Helps Improve Short-Term Attention Function

Looking at nature pictures surprisingly can increase attention level in young adults, as proven in Experimental Aging Research found that executive attention was seen to increase in both older adults.

Good news for city dwellers with less access to nature: participants’ attention immediately before and after viewing photos of nature was measured, and the study found that viewing those photos actually improved attention and short-term memory in both age groups.

Other Physical Benefits

  • Treats Insomnia

According to the Journal of Environment and Public Health research, if you can’t sleep well, try walking in the park. You will notice a noticeable difference in sleep patterns from day one.

But to prevent insomnia or improve your sleep patterns, try walking barefoot on the grass for about 30 minutes each morning.

  • Managing Heart Health

Walking barefoot on grass can help to regulate your heart health. The Journal of Environment and Public Health study also shows that walking barefoot on grass helps synchronise your heart rate.

But for this benefit, consuming something healthy is also important. Try to have some benefits of eggplant to achieve best results.

Tips You Can Follow

How long should I be in nature? Most doctors would recommend 20-30 minutes every three days of the week. But, essentially interaction with nature as part of a normal lifestyle.

Your time with nature can be as simple as taking a walk every day in the park or on a trail that is still full of trees. You can also go cycling, you know, to add some variation. However, remember to implement health protocols as you go outside.

Best time to do this is in the morning when it’s still fresh and warm. Do this around three days a week or only the weekend if you’re too busy.