5 Reasons Walking in Nature Helps Keep You Healthy

April 26, 2017 | Blog | Reading Time 4:00 Minutes

Now that Old Man Winter is finally (mostly) on his way out, it’s time to think about spring and summer … and getting outdoors! Did you know spending time outside is not only a fun recreational activity, but it’s also good – and in many ways necessary – for great health?

Specifically, here are 5 reasons walking in nature helps keep you healthy:

1. Spending time outside is healing.

Numerous studies show that fresh air and exercise in nature are good for healing everything from mind and soul to aches and illnesses. When sun hits the skin, for instance, the kidneys and liver are activated – and in response, Vitamin D is formed within the body. This “sunshine vitamin” is known to help elevate low moods and decrease high blood pressure. Think back to childhood and how often the remedy for a bad day was throwing open a window. And how many movies with hospital scenes involve wheeling patients out into the fresh air? Nature walks can help with healing from the inside out.

2. Spending time outside is calming.

According to experts, spending time outside lowers stress. Even just the scent of many popular spring flowers is enough to lower stress and increase relaxation both of which are good for the body, mind and soul. Individuals struggling with depression or anxiety are encouraged to spend time outdoors as the scent of pine (among other common nature scents) is known to lessen symptoms. Walking in nature triggers various hormones that send calming messages to the brain.

3. Spending time outside is restorative.

According to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan, spending time outside strengthens short-term memory. Specifically, the study noted that nature walks were more effective for cognitive health than urban walks. In addition to being good for memory function, nature walks are good for recuperating from mental fatigue. Being in nature has a powerful way to remind us how small our problems can be in comparison to the vast and beautiful world around us.

Bonus: Nature walks are good for creative energy and mental boosts when solving a problem or working on a project.

4. Spending time outside is preventative.

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With regard to health, the best plan to treat illness is to prevent it from happening at all. Research in this regard is still early, but studies already suggest that spending time in nature, specifically, may actually stimulate anti-cancer proteins. While this research is relatively new, what isn’t new is the understanding that spending time in nature boosts the immune system, which fights all sorts of infections and illnesses. Boosting the immune system by spending time walking in nature can directly result in fewer colds, flues, and inflammation.

5. Spending time outside is restful.

Very little is as good for the body as rest. And in a culture that craves noise and activity, rest is a rare but valuable commodity. Just think about it: thousands of people go to the gym each day to exercise but, typically, do not enjoy a mentally restful exercise session because there is so much mental stimulation going on due to the noise levels in gyms. Televisions blare and gym buddies call to each other over the din of the machines. Certainly, calories are burned and heart rates are elevated, but consider how a walk in nature combines exercise with mental rest.

Enjoy Retirement in Staten Island

Here at The Brielle, we take seriously the health and wellness of our residents. We offer full-service assisted living and memory care, and we do it in a unique park-like setting on Staten Island. In lieu of the loud noise and frantic activity, we offer gentle care from trained, caring staff in a setting that is intentionally tucked away from fast-paced surroundings. Our convenient location invites frequent nature walks in our wooded oasis. With care designed to support your optimal health and therefore your chosen goals, The Brielle is truly a hidden gem. We would love to show you around or tell you more about how our community can help promote health and wellness. Give us a call today to learn more.