My family really enjoys nature walks. I love the scents and the smells of trees while my kids love to explore. To our family, nature walks become a part of our lifestyle. Whenever we walk through the forests, we share the moment of love. Sometimes, when I need time to reflect my life, I come alone and enjoy my solitude. Later, I feel surprised to discover a lot of benefits of nature walks that I’ll share with you today.
Benefits of Walking in Nature
1. Boost your memory and learning
A study in the University of Michigan has conducted a research about the benefits of nature walks 1. One group of people walked around arboretum and the other went around city streets. Those who were immersed in the nature improved 20% in their memory test. The latter saw no difference.
Walking through trees has also increased learning ability, especially with children. Children who learn and play in an open environment with green areas achieved better cognitive skills and improve life skills 2.
If you are feeling stressed out as final exam is coming, try taking a walk (you can bring your books with you, too!). Actually, I spent a lot of time writing my assignments in the nearby forest or in some local parks. It did work well for me.
2. Reduce the risk of depression
Whenever I feel down, I take a hike. I find that I feel better in an instance. Hiking or walking in nature lowers the risk of depression 3. It also helps to fight stress, anxiety and depression. The scents of flowers, the sound of leaves talking with others, the smells of soil are gifts from the Mother Earth. They calm you down, making you feel better and happier.
3. Strengthen the immune system and muscles
When we are around green spaces, we absorb phytoncides (essential oils from the woods), which benefit the immune system. This chemical from plants helps our body increase natural killer cells 4.That’s so amazing!
Walking and hiking also burns off fat and calories, building and strengthening our muscles. Sometimes, I also practise yoga in in a park. It is always the best yoga studio to me!
4. Enhance your positivity
Those who often enjoyed themselves in nature are less likely to have mental problems. Feeling bad? Want to find a quick burst of happiness? Go and find a lovely green area and close your eyes. I am sure you will regain your balance and feel warm inside.
5. Build strong family relationship
Nature is the easiest way to strengthen the family bond. The kids are free to explore, develop the curiosity. My kids question and then share many stories (even their secrets) as they walk with me into the woods. A romantic walk is also a way to fuel the fire between me and my husband, too.
6. Improve your focus
A study in Psychological Science reveals that nature relaxes your brain from being overstimulated 5. Hence, it helps your brain to stay focused. I suppose we all need a moment to be mindful. Why don’t you try being mindfulness meditation in nature?
7. Reduce blood pressure
Nature walks have huge benefits, including controlling blood pressure. Japanese researchers saw that people walked in the woods had lower blood pressure than those walked in the city 6. The good news is, taking a walk suits almost everyone.
8. Benefit sensitive people
We have seen that walking in green places brings enormous benefits to our health and soul. Especially with sensitive people, it seems to be a huge plus. Being far away from noise, dust, and city skyscrapers calms your delicate nerves.
Sensitive people also gain energy from being alone. Do you know that energy elements such as rivers, trees could absorb bad energy lying deep inside your body? I am a kind of person who always feels overwhelmed by thoughts and ideas. But, I find myself peaceful and free from the burden of thoughts in the forests.
Tips for Successful Nature Walks with Children
Kids do love nature. They run, play and laugh a lot. There are moments you need to slow them down and moments to stir things up a little bit. Here are some tips that I follow to make the most of this wonderful time.
1. Let them explore
Kids always seek something new. They can always find new things along the walk. Just remember to put safety as the first priority. You can teach them what to do in emergency situations. For example, when they get lost or hurt their feet.
2. Pick suitable clothes
When it comes to hiking, clothes are one of the most important things. Pick lightweight, breathable clothes designed for a workout. Don’t forget to choose the one that makes you feel good for a long time. In winter, it is trickier. Make sure to keep them warm with layers of clothes, hat and gloves.
Don’t forget shoes. Sport shoes designed for running and hiking are just perfect! They will prevent sore feet and also save your energy.
3. Create arts from nature
Encourage your kids to create their unique collection. It could be leaves, rocks, types of surface, etc. You can also help them to turn them into pictures or other art works. Or sometimes, they could pick whatever they find interesting and explore these things later.
It feels so great to take a break in the shade and let kids do arts. (You have to try this!)
4. Write journal
I have bought different notebooks for journal writing. You know, writing is also a form of arts and it helps to explore the inner world. Your kids can keep it private or share it with other members (It’s up to them).
Being in nature can heal your soul in hard times, strengthen family bonds. It makes a huge difference in our family life. We are more enthusiastic, calmer and happier (maybe even wiser) thanks to the Mother Earth.
Does your family spend time walking into the woods? What are your regular activities (especially with your kids?). Love to hear from you.