A team of researchers from the University of Michigan have discovered that group walks in nature are associated with a healthy mind; amongst the benefits count decrease in depression, improved overall well-being and lower stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, spending time in nature has a visible positive effect on the mood of people who are passing through traumatic life events such as illness, divorce or death of a loved one.
The study was published in the Eco-psychology journal. Almost 2,000 people took part in the Walking for Health program held in England. The program compared the effects on participants at over 3,000 walks weekly. The benefits were compared with the ones of subjects who did not participate at these events. Researchers found that the effects of a stressful live can be easily overcome with physical activity.
Different studies have found numerous other benefits of walking or spending time in nature. Cardiovascular health, higher self-esteem and improved moods, strengthened bones, healthy weight and creative thinking are all linked with nature walks. A further study showed that even the simple walks in green spaces in urban settlements sets the brain in a meditation mood. It also appears that jogging in wide spaces makes people 50 percent happier than running on a treadmill or working out in a gym.
Walking or spending time in nature is a not a expensive activity, it has low risks or accidents and it an accessible form of exercise to almost anyone around the world. Its effects are powerful, and further studies show that nature improves so much on someone’s daily positive emotions, that it lowers the need of pharmaceutical products in conditions like depression.
The body and the mind are more connected than it is supposed to; and the unused energy in the body causes anxiety in the mind. Chest pains and difficulty in breathing are the results of hyperventilation that happens in panicky moments. The moment you start walking, your body tends to regulate its breathing habits, thus making you feel that you have enough oxygen.