An image of a group of trees in the countryside enticing people to get out in the countryside walking for health benefitsThe world is a beautiful place but how often do you get out outdoors? When you get out and about you notice the changing seasons. When the first buds start to form, spring bulbs poking up through the soil, the birds making their comeback after their winter break, all the flowers during the summer, the turning of the leaves, the abundance of blackberries and horse chestnuts in the autumn and so much more. The environment you are in and noticing it can make a huge difference to how you feel. It is important to get out and see nature. Even if you live in the city there will be areas of green space and parks. Or just look up its amazing what you no longer notice.

There are so many aspects to the great outdoors that have positive health benefits that I’m sure you will want to get out more after reading this article.

What are the health benefits of walking?

Amongst other things walking outdoors in nature can help to:

  • Ease depression.
  • Reduce anxiety.
  • Make you more creative and focused.
  • Improve your memory.
  • Strengthen your immunity.

There are numerous studies that have been carried out to find the healing powers of nature. For our brains it is great to see blue and green colours together. Just think of the image of a tree against a blue sky. Does it make you feel more relaxed just imagining it?

It is important that you are in and around greenery walking in a town or city or on a treadmill just does’t have the same impact on your health. Walking in amongst trees is particularly good. Research has found that walking in the woods can:

– Help to increase creativity by up to 50%.

Trees and plants emit oils called phytoncides that actively help to reduce anxiety.

Negative ions which are a natural antidepressant are given off in woodlands and around water. So if there aren’t any woods near you find the nearest lake or river and breath in the healing properties and feel your tension melt away.

Being outdoors can also help to ease depression as it activates the right areas of the brain to lower feelings of stress and help you to think more positively. Just listen to the birds in the trees tweeting away.

Image of beautiful sky with clouds and plants in the grass with someone lying on their back enjoying the sun for a blog about the health benefits of walking
As you feel calmer you will notice an improvement in your focus as you will feel calmer and nature gives your brain a break from the over stimulation we get in other aspects of our lives. We live in such fast paced, stressful lives these days just spending some time reconnecting and getting away from technology can really help. Movement activates the same areas of the brain that control concentration and creativity (we touched on this in our recent blog about the SitFit Plus)

It can strengthen your immunity Researchers at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School found that women who spent six hours in the woods over the course of two days had an increase in white blood cells that fight virus’s and tumours and the improvement lasted at least seven days afterwards. How amazing that walking helps you to create your own medicine cabinet without the need to reach for medication.

Although we have been talking about the health benefits of walking if you have difficulty getting out and about there is a lot to be gained in just finding somewhere to sit as watching the plants, birds, bees and wildlife doing there thing will still help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

So if this has got you fired up and wanting to get out walking what next? Maybe you would like to get out with friends or family, or see this as the prime time to join a group and meet new people in your area. Your local council or local newspaper and magazines will have details of local groups. The Wildlife trust also have a number of health and well-being projects in a number of areas.

There are also a number of great walking books available to buy we particularly enjoy the Pathfinder series of books. If you live in London there is also the Time Out Book of Country Walks: 52 Walks Within Easy Reach of London all of the walks start and finish at train stations so that you can get back without always having to do a circular walk back to the same place.

Enjoy your time in nature x