Short Nature Walks Benefit Mental Health
Research confirms that spending time outside has a positive effect on your mental health. However recent studies also report that consistent walking—and specifically walking in nature—provides significant mental health benefits.
In an article published on Medical News Today less than two months ago, it was reported that just a short walk each day could reduce depression.
Researchers noted an increase in benefits as exercise levels increased. However, even those doing a minimal amount of exercise were 16% less likely to experience depression symptoms than those who did not exercise at all.
Another report published last year looked at whether nature walks specifically (vs. urban walks) made a difference in improving mental health. Seven different studies were analyzed, and all but one reported that participants experienced significant benefits from nature walks.
I am not surprised by these results. My personal experience has confirmed that time spent walking outdoors (and for me, conversing with God) provides peace and perspective when I’m experiencing any level of stress—especially when battling daily anxiety symptoms.
God designed us to see Him in creation. And you don’t need a scenic trail to experience the healing combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of walking in nature. I’ve found that neighborhood trees, flowers, birds, and even insects will do.
Walk down the street, take a new route, and look for the lessons God puts in your path.
“Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD.” ~ Psalm 96:12
Take a prayerful walk today! If you do, share a photo—tag me with my Instagram handle @thepaceofgrace_reneegotcher or use the hashtag #thepaceofgrace. I will be sharing snapshots of my walks through Instagram Stories.