In our modern lives, it increasingly feels like we are in a web of technology. Whether it’s working, relaxing at home or even travelling, we’re always connected to our social circles and the world’s developments. While technology has gone a long way to helping us in our lives, its constant presence means we sometimes miss out on what’s happening in front of us.
This is one of many reasons why more people seek to spend time outside, detaching themselves from the regular routine. Walking and hiking have seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few years, as people leave the cities and instead spend their free time surrounded by the natural world. This isn’t just a social movement, however. Many personal benefits can be gained by surrounding yourself in nature, even if just for a moment, as seen below!
First of all, spending more time in nature can provide a range of health benefits. After all, even something as simple as walking is a form of exercise that you wouldn’t get sat on the sofa or at your desk! Walking has been proven to provide a range of physical benefits, including increased bone and joint strength and a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Spending time surrounded by nature is also a great way to get your vitamin D, which further reinforced the health benefits mentioned above.
It has now been scientifically proven that spending as little as 20 minutes in a natural space can reduce a person’s stress levels. Spending time in green spaces reduces the levels of cortisol in our bodies, the hormone linked to feelings of stress. Even if it’s just visiting a local park during a break, a small dose of nature can provide a real benefit when it comes to managing the stresses of the day.
Another hugely welcome benefit of spending more time in nature is its aiding of sleep. Due to our screen-heavy lifestyles, many people now suffer from sleep deprivation. Going on a walk throughout a natural landscape helps to release the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for regulating our internal sleep-wake cycles (the body clock). This melatonin means that when the sun goes down, your body will be ready to go to sleep, helping you feel bright and refreshed the next morning!
Increased Short-Term Memory
The natural world can help our bodies and minds perform better. Another example of this is the short-term memory gains that are made after spending time surrounded by greenery. Research has shown that students that spent breaks walking through nature were better at retaining information than those who spent their free time in urbanised areas. What’s more, further research has shown that the cognitive benefits of nature can be amplified through regular walking.
A Creative Spark
Many successful creatives make it part of their routine to detach from the wider world and spend some quality time with themselves surrounded by mother nature. There are proven reasons for this approach, as research has found people who spend prolonged periods surrounded by nature are more creative. Also, the longer you spend in a natural environment, the more creative you become. Therefore, taking a mini-break to somewhere remote will almost certainly leave you feeling more ingenious than before.
At this point, it probably won’t surprise you that spending time in nature has been proven to make you a happier person! From physical benefits to the mental advantages of time away from the modern world, much can be gained by journeying into nature!
Perhaps this explains why walking has become such a popular hobby recently? At a time when more people are conscious about the effects of society on their bodies and minds, hiking can provide a welcome and hugely beneficial escape. Maybe it’s time we all got a new pair of lightweight hiking boots and discovered the natural world for ourselves!
All pics credited to Pixabay