The Health Benefits Of Nature Walks

Why would anyone want to know the health benefits of nature walks? Let me tell you a bit about myself! Have you ever taken the time to find out exactly why certain things and activities make us feel so good?

I have an inquisitive mind, some would actually call it obsessively so (if my husband is reading this he is probably nodding in agreement) When I like something, I have the need to find out everything I can about it. Whether it’s what inspired an author to write a book I loved or how and where was my favourite TV  show filmed. (Currently, I am watching The Walking Dead, so I am obsessed with the special effects, the costumes, behind the scenes filming)  Or how cruise liners are built?  Once I spent hours on Wikipedia reading about the British Monarchy after binge-watching the TV show The Tudors. I started to practice meditation, so now I read everything I can that has to do with meditation and mindfulness.

The list goes on and on. So, this year after one of our walks in nature, I felt so good and at peace, that when I got home, I started thinking “I wonder, what are the health benefits of going on nature walks?” Which is why I wrote this blog. I might as well share my findings with others. Put my obsessive inquisitive mind to good use.

Sendero Del Rio Guadalmesi

As I mentioned above, at the beginning of the year, I, along with my family and a group of friends, went on a nature walk close to where we live. Gualdalmessi is located between Algeciras and Tarifa. It boasts of beautiful scenery and is mild to moderate in difficulty. It’s about 6.5 kilometres long and takes around two hours to complete. 

As we walked along, we came across animals going about their day, enjoying nature. We were fortunate enough to see cows and horses. 

Halfway through the walk, we branched off and walked along the Guadalmesi River, with the intention of doing a loop and heading back to where we came from, but along the river. 

Surrounded by the chirping of birds, the sound of water, sunshine filtering in through the tree branches, and no distractions of electronics, it was the highest definition of peace. The kids were playing around close to the water, my son even managed to fall into the river followed by my husband. We had a laugh, enjoyed a picnic and basked in the beauty of nature. 

I Wonder, What Are The Health Benefits of Nature Walks?

Needless to say, it was an amazing day out. The fresh air along with the hilarious banter between friends, and watching the kids jump around, climb and have fun, made it a memorable day. 

We got home feeling happy and refreshed. This got me thinking that I have never actually given much thought to the actual health benefits of being outdoors. Like many others, I just take it for granted.  Some exposure to Vitamin D, some fresh air, come back home feeling like a million dollars. However, it encouraged me to research the actual scientific facts and why one feels so good after being out in nature. 

Important Health Benefits Of Nature Walks

Enhances Immunity

Walking in nature, especially in woods, jam-packed with trees (pine trees in particular) will provide you with a good boost to your immune system. The trees release natural aromatherapy called phytoncides. These airborne chemicals have antibacterial and antifungal qualities. When we breathe them in our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells or NK.

Reduces Anxiety and Aids In Depression

Spending as little as 20 minutes outdoors (especially in green areas) significantly reduces your cortisol levels, the stress hormones. Nature walks boost endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness. 

Increased Energy

Walking requires physical activity, which in turn will increase your heart rate, improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. When we perform cardiovascular activity our body releases hormones like endorphins and delivers oxygen through the body.

Enhances Creativity and Improves Focus

A healthy dose of fresh air will without a doubt increase your creative thinking. Spending time surrounded by the beauty and the peace of nature will inspire a sense of awe. The lack of distractions as you enjoy the scenery, allows you to disconnect from the mundane and expand your thinking. 

When we allow our minds to quiet down and not be pulled in a million different directions we grant ourselves the opportunity to improve our memory and focus in general. 

Promotes Weight Loss

Finally the obvious. Staying active, in whichever form will always contribute to weight loss. In the past, I used to do strength training, but lately, I find myself walking a lot. 

What Is Ecotherapy?

Forest Bathing

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries created in 1982, the term shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest Bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere”.

Forest Bathing

Earthing, or Otherwise Known as Grounding

Negative Ions

Abundant in nature, negative ions can be found around waterfalls, at the beach and widespread in mountains and forests.

Final Thoughts

Not everyone is interested in the health benefits of nature walks. Almost anyone who has spent the day out with family and friends, laughing, exchanging anecdotes and having fun, will agree that regardless of what science says or doesn’t, it still remains one of the best ways to spend a day out. Not everyone will go home and google it. But on the off chance that you are anything like me, hope you found this blog post helpful. And if you didn’t at least I hope you enjoyed the photos and that next time you plan on spending a day out, you give the  El Sendero Del Rio Guadalmesi a try. 

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