Benefits of Nature – Good For Our Health

Photo by gjsethexplores

With the weather in New Jersey being unseasonably warm this week I was able to get outside and escape from the noise of everyday life.  With more and more people living in urban areas we tend to experience nature less and less. Living in urban areas increases our risk for experiencing mental illness, but a new study found that spending time in nature may in fact decrease that risk.

According to the above mentioned study a 90 minute walk in nature lowered repetitive negative thoughts that we have throughout the day.  This past week my body was feeling anxious, which was most likely caused by me taking on more than I should have been.  A planned day hike on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania border was just what I needed to bring my mind and body back into balance.  Below are a few benefits from that day.

NATURE KEEPS US PRESENT

Removing ourselves from the noise of urban living is important to help regain control of our thoughts.  A walk through the woods does just that.  Nature is a natural setting for our mind and body, and being surrounded by it takes our focus off of whatever rumination may have been consuming our minds.  When I was walking through the woods, climbing the mountain, I wasn’t focusing on why I was feeling anxious just hours before.

I was just there in that moment enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.  Feeling each step as I felt the rocks below me massaging my feet.  I felt the sun penetrating my bare skin while listening to the wind before it made its way into my path blowing past me.  Nothing else mattered other than me being in that present moment.

NATURE IS A NATURAL AIR PURIFIER 

I read once in a survivalist book that it’s important to take long deep breaths whenever you’re in nature.  Doing so will purify our bodies and increase our oxygen intake.  Breathing is something we pay little attention to, and some of us neglect its importance, but it can be a strong indicator linked directly to our well-being.  Breathing properly allows blood and oxygen to flow to our vital organs, such as our heart, liver, and lungs allowing them to function better.  Taking deep breaths when we’re in nature purifies our bodies allowing them to function at their maximum capacity.

OVERALL WELL-BEING

On average we burn about 400 calories per hour of hiking.  My most recent hike we clocked 7.5 miles in about 3 hours.  Not only was my heart rate up at some points, but I was moving continuously up and downhill, which not only burned calories, but also strengthened my heart and different muscles throughout my body, especially my legs.

Throughout the hike my friend and I were high on nature.  We weren’t drinking, and didn’t smoke a thing, but the increased oxygen entering our bodies and brain had us feeling like we were floating.  We were much more creative and the ideas we shared were clear and they will help us both achieve the things we are working towards. Our minds were more open and we noticed things on our way down the mountain that we missed going up.  And what was probably one of the best parts of the hike was that we felt free.  We were present, and felt the benefits of the clean air that was being absorbed throughout our body.  We laughed like kids, and life felt how it should feel for all of us, everyday, it was beautiful.

The one thing everyone we met on the trail had in common was that they were all smiling.

Every single one of us deserves to feel good.  Your dose of happiness maybe IS easier to obtain than you may think..

If you’ve never hiked before and you’re anywhere up or down the east coast and want to experience a hike, reach out to me and I will help you find a trail in your area that fits your experience and fitness level.

 

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