The Benefits of Nature Walking
Want to Get Fit, Body and Soul? Go for a walk!
Walking is One of the Best Forms of Exercise
Walking is, without a doubt, one of the best forms of exercise there is. For those who don’t have time to play sports or the money for a gym membership, walking is a smart alternative. It can be done anywhere, it's a safe activity for most anyone, it can be done any time of year, with nothing more than appropriate footwear.
Nature Walking is Great for Our Overall Health
We also know that just thirty minutes of walking is greatly beneficial to our physical well being. Those who walk regularly enjoy lower blood pressure, muscle tension release, improved strength and flexibility. They also burn calories – anywhere between about 100 to 150 on a 30 minute stroll.
Nature walking provides even greater health-related benefits. Counselors are beginning to recognize that a nature walk can lead to improvements to the health of the "whole patient", and prescribe Nature Walk Therapy for this very reason. For those who suffer from mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, nature walks help clear circular thought patterns as the walker “moves through” whatever is weighing on her mind.
Nature Walking Helps Us Experience The World Around Us
Walking gives us the opportunity to truly experience nature: to notice the subtle changes of seasons and participate in the world outside of our artificial environments. We begin to feel connected – or re-connected - to other living things. We become aware of the beauty in the world that we are a part of: a sunrise or sunset, an awe-inspiring storm, a pristine beach, or the lush green trees of a park.
5 Tips to Get You Nature Walking Today
Tip #1: Find a nature walking group. Walking with a group makes it easier to do regularly as your fellow walkers keep you motivated.
Tip #2: Make a list of local nature walks. Start close to home – is there a lake you can walk around? A local mountain with great hiking trails? A forest with lush flora and fauna? Keep your list somewhere visible, and check off each adventure one by one as you work through your list.
Tip #3:Is there an older person in your life you would like to spend more time with? Suggest a nature walk as a way to connect with someone who may otherwise not get outside very often. Being out in nature is a great way to connect across generations.
Tip #4: Walk with children. Children who spend time exploring nature grow into adults who enjoy hiking, camping, gardening and value the importance of preserving the environment. Most adults love teaching children about nature, whether pointing out a birdsong, teaching the names of trees and flowers, or simply admiring the beauty of a tree.
Tip #5: Nurture your naturalist appreciation. On days when you have extra time to spare, bring a notebook on your walk. Jot down the things you notice as you stroll at a leisurely pace. Try capturing the beauty around you in a sketch, or writing down the random thoughts that come to mind as you walk.
I hope these tips inspire you to enjoy greater health and happiness by getting outdoors on your own or with a loved one, and taking a walk!
I Can Make Life: Poems About Infertility and Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Birth
About Nicole Breit
Nicole Breit is a published author and poet. She is the former Food & Health editor for Thrifty and Green magazine and is the owner of Sparrow Writing + Editorial Services, based in Vancouver, BC. Her debut poetry collection, , was a finalist for the 2012 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize. Follow her writing journey on her blog, I Can Make LifeWriting for my Life, or on twitter @NicoleBreit.
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