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The Benefits of Walking Outdoors

The Benefits of Walking Outdoors

March 30, 2017 / by Steven Wright

Mother Nature is all around us. Mother Nature is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the people we love and the anxiety reliever we all need. But in today’s busy society, it can be harder than ever to find time to appreciate the world and take advantage of nature’s many benefits.

Every year on March 30, 2017, a fun holiday comes around that reminds us of the mental and physical benefits of spending time with nature: National Take a Walk in the Park Day.

In honor of National Take a Walk in the Park Day, we want to call attention to a few of the ample benefits of walking outdoors in nature:

  1. Improves Your Overall Mood
Who doesn’t want to be in a good mood each day? According to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan, taking group nature walks reduces depression, improves mental health and lowers perceived stress levels. And walking in nature could be particular beneficial to those who have been dealing with recent traumatic life events.
According to University researchers, the benefits of nature group walks suggest “that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.”
  1. Enhances Sleep & Energy
How many mornings do you wake up feeling like you never went to sleep at all? If you have problems getting to sleep (and staying asleep) at night, walking in nature can relieve insomnia. Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that affects more than 3 million people per year in the United States alone. It can be caused by depression, anxiety, poor sleep habits and — you guessed it — lack of exercise. A study conducted by Dr. Stephany Biello of the University of Glasgow said that people with insomnia can get a better night’s sleep if they expose themselves to daylight during an outdoor walk for as little as 15 minutes each day.
  1. Increases Blood Circulation

Routine walking is one of the best ways to decrease chances of heart disease and increase blood circulation and oxygen supply to cells. According to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, walking significantly decreases high blood pressure that often leads to strokes. Only 30 minutes of daily walking can reduce risks of strokes by up to 27 percent.

  1. Nature Puts Everything into Perspective

Sometimes we could all use a little perspective, especially when we are bogged down and over-stressed with daily responsibilities like work, family, friends, expenses and more. Walking in nature can help us realize that all of our tiny problems will work out at the end of the day, no matter how large or important they feel. Walking in nature is the perfect reminder that our individual problems are extremely small when compared to our large planet full of life, love and positive energy.

  1. Daily Walking is the “Superfood of Fitness”

A couple of years ago, health-enthusiasts started spending a lot more time educating people on “superfoods,” which are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial to health. Popular foods that are classified as “superfoods” include eggs, walnuts, Brussels sprouts and celery. But everyone knows that improved health comes from a combination of nutrition and exercise. So, which exercise is the “Superfood of Fitness?”

Appropriately enough, experts say that walking has become the “superfood of exercise.” In her book, Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement, Scientist Katy Bowman explains that beginner walkers should aim to walk 3 miles per hour and gradually work to 4 miles per hour in order to see and feel the best results.

If you’re not used to daily exercise, it may take days or weeks before you can see and feel any results. So, it’s important to avoid over-exercise when starting a routine. Over-exercising can lead to muscle soreness, fatigue or injury — all of which can be extremely discouraging and cause you to abandon your regimen. And when you need a little inspiration — always remember: “The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.”



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