The great outdoors might just be greater than you think. There are plenty of us who love to spend as many hours of the day outdoors as we can, and walking is obviously quite healthy for the body, but few of us ever give a lot of thought to how nature walking could benefit our mental health as well. According to a study published last July, a 90 minute walk through a natural environment had a huge positive impact on participants. In a survey taken afterwards, those people who took the natural walk showed far lower levels of brooding, or obsessive worry. Whereas, the control group spent that 90 minutes walking through a city actually reported no such difference.
Unplugging makes you more creative
Psychologists found in their 2012 study that after a four-day-long walk through the wilderness, with no access to technology, participants scored a whopping 50% higher on a test measuring the creative potential in people.
Feel better about yourself, from your sweaty head down to your muddy boots
Walking is a pretty solid aerobic exercise that burns around 400-700 calories per hour. This is great on its own, but aerobic exercise also has a really positive effect on your brain: it improves your memory. It’s even being studied as a way to help seniors fight off dementia, because it doesn’t just increase your ability to store information, it also reduces memory loss.
According to a report in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, even getting out into nature for five minutes at a stretch is enough to give your self-esteem a substantial upgrade. Spending the entire day outdoors results in a second jump upwards! Walking near water seemed to have the biggest effect, so when planning your next hike, be sure to seek out a location with some great creeks, rivers, or the ocean.
Is walking in nature the solution to all of life’s problems? Probably not. But what science is showing is that it’s actually a pretty solid contender for making everyone’s lives a lot better, with very little input.
Here at IPT we are dedicated to creating tailor-made walking holidays that give you the freedom to roam some of the most amazing parts of the world. At the end of the year we are showcasing 3 diverse locations where you can walk with nature, immerse with locals and let yourself unwind and your mind recharge.
A Walking Holiday may be just the trick to recharge yourself before the festive season is upon us.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer, Information gathered from an article by Michael W. Pirrone