Going for a walk to get some fresh air and stretch your legs is something many of us are familiar with. There is growing evidence that making time for a walk can have an array of benefits such as better sleep, stress relief, improved concentration and overall wellbeing.
In Japan, Shinrin-Yoku is a popular wellbeing practice backed by science. Translated as ‘forest bathing’, the idea is that by immersing yourself in any natural environment you will support your healing, enhance your cardiovascular and immune systems, lift your mood and improve your mental health.
Here in the UK we are blessed with so many stunning walking routes for differing fitness levels. Check out WWW.WALKINGBRITAIN.CO.UK for ideas. If you’re based in the South East or visiting there check out WWW.FANCYFREEWALKS.ORG for ideas and well explained scenic routes. And if you’re up for combining your walks with some wild food foraging especially at this time of the year then check out WWW.WILDFOODUK.COM.
The link between spending quality time outdoors and being healthier and happier is becoming increasingly clear. Here are some of the many benefits as to why we should get outside as much as possible.
RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF
Getting outdoors gives you a chance to step away from the noise of our daily environments: phone calls, news updates, social media, constant emails, to-do lists, the demands of family life and jobs.
Nature can calm our busy monkey minds by reconnecting us with a slower space, bringing us back to the present, and lowering our stress levels which in turn enhances our mental health and wellbeing.
For many people doing conventional seated meditation is challenging. The active mind kicks in and your thoughts are here, there and everywhere. I prefer walking as a form of active meditation.
A walk not only gets your heart and blood pumping, but may also boost concentration by allowing your mind to be clear of distractions that may cloud your judgement or stunt creativity.
Vitamin D is important in regulating the calcium and phosphorus in our bodies. It can improve brain development and function and help strengthen our bones.
Although we can obtain vitamin D from foods, it’s nearly impossible to obtain the levels we need from our diets alone – the best source is getting sunlight on our skin.
I hope this has given you the inspiration to put on your walking boots and get out into the great outdoors. It’s so healing and therapeutic.
Love Gaynor x