The Surprising Benefits of Taking a Nature Hike
If you have been spending too much time indoors in front of the TV, computer, or endlessly scrolling through social media sites on your smartphone, it is time to ditch the screens and embrace nature for a while. Urban lifestyles tend to overload the body, and the amount of information absorbed from external stimuli can be overwhelming to the central nervous system (CNS).
Extensive studies show that the simple act of taking a nature hike can have substantial physical and mental health benefits. For starters, fresh air helps your immune system fight bacteria, viruses and fungi, while exposure to sunlight helps keep the circadian rhythm in check. With these interesting discoveries, it makes sense to delve deeper into the benefits of taking a nature hike.
Physical Health Benefits
Taking a nature hike can have surprisingly positive effects on the body. Naturally, staying active and stretching the legs is beneficial to your overall health, but there are other physical health benefits that tend to be less obvious.
When you take a nature walk, your body pressure reduces, resulting in a calm feeling. Your breathing becomes more relaxed, and stress hormones like cortisol are reduced. So, taking a nature hike at least once a week can help improve your heart condition and reduce the risk of postural syndromes and conditions like heart disease
Changes in the Brain & Cognition
Another lesser-known fact about taking a nature hike is that it affects the brain and cognition. The latter refers to mental processes like attention and memory. Indeed, studies have shown that nature walks can substantially help your short-term memory.
When walking, you focus on what’s happening at the moment, soak in everything and actively attempt to remember what you’re seeing and feeling. This ultimately helps your memory as you train the brain to store the immediate information better.
An improvement in short-term memory is vital for everyday tasks, especially for senior citizens. It also helps you recover from the repercussions of some mental disorders. For instance, depression and burnout can lead to memory loss, but a nature hike can help restore that operation.
Another surprising benefit of taking a nature hike is related to an essential aspect of living a healthy and happy life- gratitude. When taking a nature walk, you start to appreciate everything around you. You become more grateful to your location and have the chance to experience all the wonders in your surroundings. With all the nature grandiosity, you gain a fresh perspective and get to understand that some troubles in your life may not be as big as they seem.
Taking a nature hike where you practice gratitude and mindfulness is something that your body and brain will thank you for, especially if you are 55 years and above. Even if you do it twice a month, the energy you’ll get from being one with nature can be life-changing. Clearly, nature hikes have physical and mental health benefits that are worth experiencing. So, get your boots and get to hiking!