Walking in nature: a healthy and enjoyable habit

 

Do you enjoy walking in nature? If so, you’re in luck, because this habit has many benefits for your physical and mental health. And if you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to do it, because you will surely be surprised how good you feel afterwards.

What are the benefits of walking in nature?

Walking in the countryside or landscaped areas is a form of moderate exercise. In addition, being outdoors, you breathe cleaner air and are exposed to sunlight, which favors the production of vitamin D and the regulation of the circadian rhythm.

But not only that, walking in nature also has positive effects on your mental and emotional health. Some of these are:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety. By walking in nature, you get away from everyday worries, noise and distractions. You connect with the natural environment, which transmits calm and harmony. In addition, by exercising, you release endorphins, which are the hormones of well-being and pleasure.
  • It improves your mood and self-esteem. Being in contact with nature releases chemicals in the brain that generate feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and confidence. In addition, by contemplating its beauty and grandeur, you can develop a more positive and grateful attitude towards life.
  • It stimulates creativity and memory. Getting in touch with the natural environment helps you to clear your mind, relax your thinking and foster your imagination. In addition, walking activates blood flow to the brain, which improves concentration, attention and memory.

What if I live in a city?

Nature offers a great variety of places where you can walk and enjoy its landscapes. The choice will depend on what you are looking for, what you like and what you can do.

If you live in a city, you don’t have to go far to find a green space where you can walk. You can take advantage of the parks and gardens near your home or work. They are ideal places to disconnect from stress, breathe fresh air and see some green.

You can also opt for river walks, tree-lined squares or botanical gardens. These places allow you to be in contact with nature without having to go far away.

If you have more time and a desire for adventure, you can look for trails and routes that take you through more varied and spectacular natural landscapes. You can walk through forests, mountains, beaches, deserts or lakes. These are places that allow you to discover the diversity and richness of nature.

If you want to live a more intense and lasting experience, you can plan a trip or a getaway to a natural destination that appeals to you. You can visit national parks, nature reserves, islands, volcanoes or glaciers. These are places that offer you a deeper and more memorable connection with nature.

Having a garden at home has the same effects

If you love nature, but don’t have the ability to go for a walk in nature, a good alternative is to have a garden at home and practice therapeutic gardening. This refers to using plants and gardening activities to improve an individual’s physical and mental well-being. This form of therapy can be done in any space, however small, where plants can be grown.

Having a garden at home and practicing therapeutic gardening has many benefits to your health and happiness. Some of these benefits are:

  • It allows you to be in touch with nature in your own home. By having a garden at home, you can enjoy the presence of plants, their colors, their scents and their fruits. You can observe the changing seasons, the cycle of life and the interaction with other living things. This helps you to feel more connected to the environment and to value its importance.
  • It offers you a creative and rewarding activity. By practicing therapeutic horticulture, you can express your creativity and create your own green space, tailored to your tastes and needs. In addition, you can feel the satisfaction of watching your plants grow and flourish, and harvesting their produce.
  • It helps you relax and improves your mood. By devoting time to your garden, you can forget the worries and problems of everyday life and concentrate on a task that you enjoy and makes you happy. By working with plants, you release endorphins, which are the hormones of pleasure and well-being. You also reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and improve your self-esteem and confidence.

Mindfulness and nature: a perfect combination

Mindfulness is a practice that consists of paying attention to the present moment, with an attitude of openness, curiosity and acceptance. It helps us to improve our physical and mental health by reducing stress, anxiety and depression, and increasing happiness, self-esteem and compassion.

When we combine mindfulness and nature, we can experience a positive synergy, which enhances the effects of both practices. By practicing mindfulness in nature, we can:

  • Connect with our senses. By being in nature, we can stimulate our five senses, and perceive details that we sometimes overlook. We can see colors and shapes, hear different sounds, smell the scent of flowers or touch the texture of plants.
  • Relax and recharge. The natural environment helps us to free ourselves from the tensions and worries generated by the fast pace and demands of modern life. This helps to improve our mood and energy.
  • Learn and grow. By being more aware of the present moment when we walk in the countryside we can reflect on our role in the world, on our relationships, as well as on our objectives and goals. This introspection helps us to expand our vision and our knowledge of the world and develop an attitude of gratitude.

Have you already convinced yourself of the benefits of walking in nature? Most habits need about 3 weeks before you can notice the benefits of practicing them continuously. However, the positive effects of being in contact with plants will be present from day one. If you haven’t tried it yet, today may be a good day to prioritize your emotional health.

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