Walking in nature is just what the doctor ordered
To those of us lucky enough to grow up in nature and still able to enjoy access to it today, this great piece of research from The Wildlife Trusts feels like an important reminder in Mental Health Awareness Week that there are so many more people who didn’t and don’t have that experience.
Their study adds even more evidence to the growing consensus that contact with nature is linked to better physical health, reduced levels of stress and improved concentration.
A daily dose of being active in nature, whether that’s a walk in a park or a hike in the wilds, seems like the best sort of prescription, but we all lead super busy lives and it sometimes feels hard to make the time and effort to go out walking.
The Wildlife Trust suggests that there are 5 easy steps to creating your own nature health prescription:
Even 10 minutes a day being active outdoors can have a positive impact on your health – Researchers from the University of Essex found that spending as little as five minutes doing “green exercise,” or activity in nature, was enough to boost study participants’ mood and self-esteem.
Once you’re into a rhythm of being active outdoors, start becoming conscious of everything you can see, hear, smell and even touch around you. Activating all the senses is both deeply calming and grounding but also helps to stimulate the brain and keep it active.
With loneliness being one of the biggest threats to mental health, it’s important to forge and foster connections and going for walks with friends, family or local groups is a great way to do this. Walking together improves social connection and can help people resolve knotty issues that are easier to discuss while in motion.
Learn and Give
Your local Wildlife Trusts offer many opportunities to visit and learn about their projects and they are always ready to welcome new volunteers. Being part of something purposeful and knowing that you have made a contribution is great for our social self-esteem and with 45,000 volunteers across the UK already, it’s worth checking the site local to you as there may be many like-minded people to connect with too.
And if you fancy walking for charity and raising funds simply by going for a walk, we have Sussex Wildlife Trust trundl coming up from 19th May – 1st June. All you have to do is download the trundl app, and press ‘Go trundling’ to join hundreds of like-minded people across the UK who are also putting their best foot forward on a regular basis.