hike for health

Take a hike!

No, seriously. Science has found out it’s good for you.

If you follow my facebook page or instagram, you’ll notice I post a lot of pictures of, well….trees. Most of these pictures are taken while on walks with my family.  We love to hike, and it turns out there’s a reason for that.

Hundreds of studies show that spending time in nature:

  • increases your mental health
  • increases your physical health
  • improves your general happiness
  • lowers your stress levels
  • improves your memory and attention
  • increases your immune function

And I could go on. Time in nature – not just time outside, but in nature, surrounded by grass and trees rather than concrete and cars – is vital to our well being.

But what if you live in the city? Does going for a walk through town have the same effect?

Sadly, no. But never fear! Cities have parks, and that’s all you need to reap the benefits of nature. Even if you can only manage it once a week, hop on the bus and spend a couple of hours in the park. A study on Japanese forest bathing suggests that the benefits of a walk in nature can last a full week.

Now, taking one walk in the woods isn’t going to miraculously heal you of all your ailments. As Lucy McRobert, nature matters campaigns manager for The Wildlife Trusts says in this BBC article:

“Nature isn’t a miracle cure for diseases,” says McRobert, “But by interacting with it, spending time in it, experiencing it and appreciating it we can reap the benefits of feeling happier and healthier as a result.”

And don’t you want to feel happier and healthier?

I know you’re busy, and life seems like a never-ending merry-go-round of things to take care of, but do me a favor. Skip that load of laundry, or order a pizza for dinner, and spend that time somewhere surrounded by grass and trees. Bonus points for flowers and water. Then come back here and let me know if you noticed any difference.