Have you ever noticed how being out amongst nature can have such a calming effect on your mood? It is more than just being away from the hustle and bustle of busy streets, or the noise of people, traffic and machinery. I have always found that the fresh air and beauty of the surrounding nature has a way of calming my mind when it is busy, and brings me a subtle sense of serenity.
Interestingly enough, studies from all over the globe are now showing that spending time walking in nature helps nourish your brain, as well as the rest of your body!
Here are 5 reasons you should make time to spend out in nature:
Stimulates brain function - In a study published in Psychological Science, researchers showed that by going for a walk in nature, for an hour or longer, you can improve your memory and enhance your attention span by up to 20%! Nature walks have also been shown to help prevent dementia in elderly people and is often used as part of the treatment plan for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Cleanse your lungs - Getting out in nature, and away from the pollution created by all the cars, factories, and general waste that you find in built up areas helps cleanse your lungs by giving them a rest from having to filter so many toxins from the air. The clean fresh oxygen, produced by all the plants and trees in the process of photosynthesis, works much like having an oil change. Each time you breathe in fresh clean air, your lungs then transfer this to your heart so that it can pump oxygen-rich blood out to all the different cells in your body.
Meditative practice - Over the past decade or so, society has made a huge leap forward in understanding when it comes to maintaining our mental and emotional health and stability. Mindfulness is becoming a common practice taught not only in yoga and meditation classes but also at gyms and even in busy office environments! Being out in nature has a natural calming effect on the thoughts of the mind, which allows for introspection and encourages present moment awareness. So if you want to meditate and exercise, why not combine the two and go for a meditation walk out in nature!
Relieves stress - I have always found a long walk on the beach, or hike in the national parks, to be very therapeutic and calming, and apparently, I am not alone! Walking in nature provides peaceful environments away from the distractions of city life. It encourages exercise, provides fresh air and has an almost meditative effect on the brain. This is why walking in nature is often recommended for people who experience high levels of stress in their lives.
- Encourages exercise - Apart from being peaceful and relaxing, being out in nature encourages a little exercise too! There are so many ways you can enjoy being outdoors, you can walk, jog, run, cycle, hike, climb and even kayak! These fun activities give you all the relaxing stress relief, such as fresh air, brain stimulation, mental time out, as well as all the other health benefits to be gained from being active!