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The Therapeutic Benefits of Walking Outdoors

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Moments of peace and tranquillity can be tricky to find in our increasingly fast-paced world. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s all too easy to get caught up in work, social events and formalities without taking any time out.

But one simple activity gives us a powerful antidote to stress and fatigue: walking outside in nature. Stepping into the great outdoors invigorates the body and soothes the mind, leaving us feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. In this article, we’ve explored four therapeutic benefits of getting outside on foot.

Key benefits of walking in nature

  1. Reduced stress

Going outside offers welcome relief from the pressures and demands of everyday life.

It’s estimated that almost eight in ten people frequently experience work-related stress, which causes a wide range of problems in the UK, including staff absences. Fortunately, walking outside is one of the most effective ways to mitigate this.

The rhythmic motions of walking, along with the harmonious sights and sounds of nature, carry a calming effect on the central nervous system. This actively reduces stress levels and can even lower our blood pressure too. Recent scientific research has proven that exposure to natural environments could even lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

  1. Connection with nature

With almost everyone in society now spending more time indoors, it’s essential to preserve our innate connection with nature. Walking outdoors, whether locally or while exploring a new place, encourages us to appreciate the environment and respect natural diversity around us.

From coastal paths on high cliffs to luscious green forests and urban parks, being outdoors means we can reconnect with natural rhythms and discover that childlike sense of awe and wonder too. You don’t need technical equipment to get started: with just the will to explore in a pair of walking boots, you can discover the most beautiful views.

  1. Clarity and focus

Those who regularly walk outdoors typically experience less brain fog and better engagement too. Since moving your body engages muscles and increases blood through, this also enhances cognitive function and offers mental clarity too.

As we move through different natural environments, we become more aware of our surroundings. This increased focus can be carried from one environment to the next, leading to increased concentration. Once we return inside after a walk outdoors, we can reflect and gain perspective. Over time, these thinking patterns help us navigate personal challenges.

  1. Physical health

Lastly, walking is a low-impact physical activity that doesn’t require any specific skill or criteria. It’s easy for to get out for a walk in outdoor spaces, and those less physically able can still join family and friends on wheelchair-friendly walks.

Regular walking helps to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart disease, while also boosting immune function and promoting longevity. Furthermore, gentle and controlled exposure to sunlight in the great outdoors supports the body’s natural ability to produce vitamin D, which is essential for immune function and bone health.

Since walking is so beneficial for our physical and emotional health, it’s almost impossible to find an excuse not to try it.

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