11 Apr The Mental Health Benefits of Walking in Nature | Priesty Fields Care Home
Have you ever considered the mental health benefits of walking?
Walking outdoors, in particular, can have incredibly calming and restorative effects on the mind and body.
Keep reading to find out how you could benefit from a daily walk in your natural surroundings:
Mental Health Benefits of Walking: Improves Sleep Quality
Taking a stroll outdoors can have immensely positive effects on your sleep quality.
Whether or not you’re naturally a good sleeper, the mental health benefits of walking can help you achieve the most natural sleeping pattern possible.
Exposing yourself to sunlight will help to keep your circadian rhythm in check. This means that, come nighttime, your body will know when it’s time to switch off, thanks to the production of melatonin that the brain naturally releases upon the arrival of sunset.
The more you spend time outdoors, the more likely you are to respond to the body’s time-regulating hormones. This’ll allow you to more easily wind down before bedtime, before experiencing a surge of energy as the next day begins.
Promotes Stress and Anxiety Relief
Taking a stroll can help to significantly reduce stress and anxiety.
When you engage in movement, your brain releases endorphins (also known as ‘feel-good’ hormones). This sends the body into a state of relaxation and promotes feelings of happiness, helping to clear the mind and prepare you for the day ahead.
You don’t have to engage in a fast-paced walk to feel these effects; a gentle stroll is enough to induce a feeling of inner peace.
Mental Health Benefits of Walking: Boosted Energy Levels
Embarking on a stroll in your natural surroundings can boost energy levels in the body, helping you feel more awake and alert.
Engaging in movement increases lung capacity and heart health, enabling you to achieve more physically demanding tasks on a daily basis. It’s also an effective way of increasing energy levels in the body itself, by delivering more oxygen to the muscles and tissues.
Try heading out for a daily walk, and observe how you feel; does a morning stroll help you feel more energised for the day ahead?
Walking Encourages Mindfulness
Mindfulness, an increasingly popular practice, is essential for living life in a calm and present way.
Life can get busy – and often, it’s easy to forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings.
Go for a daily walk in nature and dedicate the time to noticing what you can see, hear, smell and feel. Try to let go of any thoughts that enter your mind, and focus solely on the natural world around you.
Try to practise mindful breathing whilst you’re walking; simply taking note of your breath – i.e. noticing how it feels, and consciously slowing it down to relax your body and mind.
At Priesty Fields, we’re passionate about supporting our residents in their journey to living as independently as possible, whether that’s through the mental health benefits of walking or helping them engage in their favourite activities.