8 Ways Walking In Nature Every Day Has Improved My Outlook On Life
When was the last time you took 30 minutes out of your day to do something nice for yourself? Self-care matters, but it doesn’t have to cost money. Nor need it entail lazing about — getting your daily activity qualifies. In today’s hectic world, I’d be lost without my daily half-hour of exercise. Going for a hike or stroll in a beautiful outdoor setting transports me from the hustle and bustle of the urban buzz and onto a miniature vacation. Here are eight ways that getting out to walk in nature every day has improved my outlook on life.
It boosts confidence
Your confidence matters more than you think. It can influence anything from how much money you make to your physical health. The latter is vitally important when it comes to getting your recommended daily exercise quotient. It’s natural to feel awkward when you start a new program, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Walking is already one of the least complicated — and free — forms of exercise. All you need to get started is a sturdy pair of shoes! You should also make sure to pack some water and snacks if you plan on going for a longer walk.
It helped me make friends
Loneliness is much more than an unpleasant feeling. It can actually increase your risk of dying from all causes. It can make you sick if you aren’t already and worsen existing symptoms. However, relatively few of us even know our neighbors these days. How many do you exchange pleasantries with each morning? Before I started walking in nature, I rarely crossed paths with anyone from my block. Now, I have a regular tribe of acquaintances. We check in with each other every morning and pass chit-chat, catching up on who is pregnant and who got a new job. It helps me feel much more connected to my community. Plus, I know people I can turn to in a pinch, and they feel the same.
It gives me time to meditate
When you visualize meditation, you probably picture a yogi seated in a lotus pose on a mat. However, you can practice anywhere, including while your body is in motion. It might help matters along. The original yoga practitioners added movement to meditation much later — it helps get the mind in a calm and relaxed state where it’s less challenging to shut out distractions. You can’t do much better at shutting out distractions than venturing out into nature. Some of my longer walks in nature take me far off the beaten path. If I’m walking that far out by myself though, I always make sure to let someone know where I’m going and give them a predicted return time, just in case!
It makes me feel nurtured
Humans are social creatures — but interacting with others can also drain you. Even extraverts need some time to themselves to relax and recharge. My walks in nature qualify as my daily self-care. They allow me to return to the ones I love in a better frame of mind, improving my relationships. Most importantly, they remind me that I matter, too — I deserve to take care of myself, and so do you.
It increases my energy levels
It may sound ironic, but moderate exercise increases your energy levels. That’s because it prompts your body’s cells to produce more mitochondria. These create fuel from the glucose you eat, and the more of them you have, the more efficient you become. Furthermore, exercise boosts oxygen circulation inside your body. It helps your body use energy more efficiently. It also increases your mental alertness.
It keeps my immune function strong
My daily walks in nature became more important than ever during these pandemic years. While getting outdoors and moving won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, it can bolster your body’s natural defenses. Researchers investigated people who participated in the Japanese ritual of forest bathing by spending time in a wooded area. They discovered an increased number of natural killer cells, vital immune cells, that lasted for up to 30 days after an overnight camping trip.
Scientists believe the secret lies in phytoncides, which are chemicals plants emit for defense that bolster human immune function when inhaled.
It gets my endorphins going
Any form of physical activity helps increase your body’s production of endorphins. These feel-good chemicals act like natural opioids, without the negative effects of addiction. I have chronic pain issues, and my daily walks in nature help keep my aches under control. It also produces a mild rush, instantly improving my mood. I might head out with a frown but usually return with a grin.
It helps me sleep better at night
Finally, sedentary indoor modern life can lead to a host of sleep disorders. Your body was designed to move, and you could find getting adequate rest difficult if you don’t. My daily walks in nature help me practice good sleep hygiene by maintaining a regular bedtime. While I may occasionally get up and read if sleep proves elusive, I generally fall under not long after hitting the pillow.
Getting out to walk in nature every day has significantly improved my outlook on life. How might this practice enhance your daily routine?
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