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Connecting with the earth and its’ creations around us has been shown to improve mood, boost cognitive function, improve our immune systems and many more excellent benefits.
Being surrounded by urban areas and industrial areas, it can be hard to take the time to embrace the nature around us. By taking the time to venture out into the natural world, you can immensely improve your physical and mental health.
There is no single way to do a nature walk, nor are there any rules. The main goal is to get out of the house and to take in a natural environment. With the increase in urban environments, many have put walks through nature on the back burner. Walking through any natural environment, whether forests, fields, beaches, or lakesides, can be incredibly beneficial.
With the industrialization and urbanization of the world, we have also seen a coincidental increase in mental and physical health issues. Simply put, we are only sometimes as active as we used to be. Understandably, with work, personal or family obligations and social events, finding the time or space to take in nature in all of its beauty can be hard.
Ensure positive mental and physical health by taking walks in nature. Although difficult, going out of your way to find the time and place to do this activity greatly impacts your life. Taking ten minutes, even during a lunch break, to walk outside and get some fresh air can ensure the best self for yourself and those around you whom you care about.
We know how hard it can be to take time for yourself, especially with a family full of kids. The good news is that many studies have shown positive effects for adults and children. Bringing your little ones along for the nature walk can be a great way to benefit every family member.
You may want to take some time during your nature walk, but sometimes that is impossible. Going on walks through nature with your kids can not only ensure that you are getting the benefits out of it but can also benefit your kids by allowing them to explore the shapes, trees, rocks, and nature around them.
Studies within schools found that natural play environments improve academic performance in maths, sciences, social studies and writing. Also, other research has found that natural environments and their already established “hands-on” learning strategies demonstrate improved standardized test scores, grade point average, willingness to stay on task, adaptability to different learning styles and problem-solving.
Lastly, it was also shown that nature could reduce anti-social behavior like violence, bullying, vandalism, littering, and absenteeism. These are all critical to the proper development of your children, and they will thank you in the long run for taking them along during your nature walks.
Taking a stroll through nature has many physical and mental benefits. Even a few minutes surrounded by nature can greatly impact your day, quality of life and performance at work or school.
First, the obvious physical benefit comes from going out and walking. Something easy to do in such a busy society; even physical exercise for 15 to 30 minutes a day can keep your cardiovascular system active and healthy. Taking a nature walk is a great way to ensure you feel physically good daily and can also prevent many diseases. Walking in a natural environment is quite calming; it lowers our blood pressure and reduces the work and effort our cardiovascular system has to do. This can help us maintain a healthy heart for years to come.
Since such urban environments usually surround us, pollution can often cause harm to us and our immune systems. When walking in nature, we breathe in fresh air directly produced by the trees and greenery. This can help us build a stronger immune response against viruses, colds and the flu.
In a world full of technology and constant stimulus, it can be hard to live in the present moment or focus on certain tasks. Taking a nature walk allows us to use all of our senses positively. Smelling the natural scents, feeling the greenery around, hearing noises like birds chirping and squirrels running around and looking at the beautiful scenery is a relaxing and positive way to stimulate ourselves positively. It is a good way to develop mindfulness and can even help you be more mindful daily, surrounded by the busy world.
Many studies have shown the positive mental benefits of a nature walk. Compared to walking through an urbanized city, walking in nature has decreased anxiety, rumination, and negative affect. Not only this, but it has been shown to maintain that positive effect for longer periods. It was also found that participants in a study performed better on a working memory test after taking a nature walk. Walking in nature has provided positive and lasting mental health and cognitive benefits.
You’re probably thinking, “What do I do on a nature walk?” The answer is whatever you would like to do. You can simply walk through nature while taking it all in, or you could plan activities to get even more benefits from the experience and immerse yourself in the natural environment. We’ve compiled a list of activities you can do, each with its benefits.
Planning a nature walk is important to make sure you are prepared and, therefore, to make the most out of it. Apart from ensuring you have the right things; sunscreen, hat, water, proper shoes, etc., it is also good to plan what activities you will do, if any. Think about what you want to accomplish during your nature walk, then bring the appropriate items.
You can do many activities in nature to have an enjoyable time and even pull out the most benefits. Immersing yourself in nature without completing any specific activity is also okay. Time in nature is still time spent improving your mental and physical health, whether you complete a specific activity or not.
Many people recommend bird watching, scavenging out different flowers and plants to observe, and exploring different environments and animals. Overall, taking in the natural environment is always going to be beneficial. If plants interest you, bring a notebook to write your observations down or a camera to capture them. It is important not to cause harm to our beautiful natural environments, which is why we encourage you to observe the beauty around you simply.
A great activity that encourages positive mental health and mindfulness is journaling. Spending time outdoors is a great way to reconnect with ourselves mentally. To complete a journal, bring a pen and notebook with you. We recommend dedicating a specific notebook to your nature walks so that you can look back at everything you have seen and experienced and use it many different times.
When walking in nature, feel free to sit somewhere and write down your observations of nature around you. Writing out how these all make you feel is also a great idea. This can help you become aware of the positive emotions you feel outdoors and encourage you to keep up this great habit.
What you write in this journal is, of course, up to you. You may want to draw the things you see around you, like birds, animals, trees, or rocks, or even describe any sounds or smells. The great thing about this activity is that it is uniquely yours, and you have complete creative freedom, something very healing for us. We recommend leaving your cell phone at home or on silent mode to make the most of this experience.
Bringing your children along for your nature walk can be challenging, but we’ve come up with some activities for them to do to keep them entertained and let you enjoy nature at the same time. Not only will you benefit from engaging with nature, but it is also a great family activity to bring you closer to your little ones. Also, allowing them to explore the shapes, insects and objects around them is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with nature and use their imagination, which is not as common as it used to be.
A nature scavenger hunt is one of the best activities to stimulate your child’s mind and express their creativity. Both younger kids and older kids can benefit from and enjoy this activity. You, as parents, can create a list of things your child can find in nature. Some examples include birds, animals, trees, flowers, insects, rocks, fallen leaves, or even different shapes and patterns. Bring paper and a magnifying glass so your little one can see small things and write or draw them on paper. This is a great way for your child to use their problem-solving skills observation skills and keep them entertained and stimulated.
This scavenger hunt doesn’t have to be done in a secluded forest; it can also be done around your neighborhood or at your local park. Children learn to identify and observe different flowers and objects and imagine things with a magnifying glass and some enthusiasm.
Getting a chance to explore species around them and stimulate your child’s senses through a scavenger hunt can greatly impact their performance and cognitive skills and give you a chance, as a family, to create memories and have fun together.