3 Studies that Prove Walking in Nature Helps Reduce Stress

nature walks benefits

Nature walks benefits are more than intuition and aren’t strictly limited to the physical aspect of a person. People are now well-informed that nature walks benefits help us grow physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. Among the most notable advantages of nature walks is their ability to reduce stresses. Whether you are in a problematic relationship or is struggling with finances, it helps to spend some time outdoors.

If you’re not convinced, read 3 studies’ findings which clearly build the connection between walking in nature and stress.

Nature Walks Benefits

Green spaces and the stress levels of the jobless

Not having enough finances to support yourself or your family is one of the strongest sources of stress. This is what a related study focused on. In fact, the study analyzed if stress levels can affect a person based on the natural resources around them.

The levels of stress of the 35 to 55-year-old participants were based on their saliva samples and cortisol levels records. The participants also had to self-assess their own stress levels. Results showed that there were unhealthy levels of cortisol among participants living in areas with less than 30% green space. They also self-reported higher levels of stress. On the other hand, those who had more green space around them felt less stressed.

Furthermore, the study showed that every increase in green space corresponds to a steep decline in stress levels. This implies that people living near them respond and cope with stress better. Walking in nature was also a factor for the jobless participants’ reduced stress. However, the amount of exercise done didn’t necessarily correspond to the participants’ stress levels in this study.

Group Nature Walks and Multiple Aspects of Well-Being

When we hear about outdoor walking groups, we usually think of them as an effort that facilitates social interaction. Yet people know little about how these benefit our health in general. Thus, Edge Hill University and the University of Michigan in England conducted a related study in the area.

The 2014 study evaluated the Walking for Health program of England. The study monitored over 1900 participants over a period of 13 weeks. The study participants belonged to two separate groups: Nature Group Walkers and Non-Nature Group Walkers.

Many of the respective nature walks benefits were evident in this recent study. As reported, walking in nature reduces perceived stress and depression. It also enhances the overall mental well-being of participants, despite seeing no difference in the two-group social support. To the participants, nature walks helped them manage relevant life events in a stress-free manner. 

To experience nature walks benefits, the study authors suggested walking at least three times a week. Frequent, short hikes are more beneficial than occasional long walks in nature. The study also highlights the importance of conducting group nature walks. Though still undervalued up to this day, supporting these efforts bring welfare to the society as a whole.

Levels of Nature and Stress Response

One of the most recent studies pertaining to how walking in nature reduces stress analyzed the ‘levels of nature’ perspective. The researchers wanted to uncover whether nature is more effective in reducing stress than urban settings. To make a conclusive finding, the researchers chose three sites where they enforced the study.

The first site is a natural setting with wilderness-like characteristics. The second one represented a municipal-type park. The last site was indoors and looked like an urban-built exercise facility. The participants had to visit each site where they hiked, walked, or ran. What’s more, the study used biophysical markers (amylase and cortisol), to acquire the necessary data.

Results have clearly shown that the natural environment is more effective in stress reduction. Even more, participants reported less stress than seen in those who visited the municipal-type park.

These findings suggest that natural environments are best for stressed individuals who need some recovery time. This proved to be most helpful for the study participants as evident in both psychometric and biometric data. It could also bring the greatest benefit to you.

Conclusion

The aforementioned studies prove the importance of nature walks for all who want to rid themselves of everyday stresses. Though stress will never fade, nature walks benefits give us an exit route when it all seems too much to bear. Remember that you have a friend in nature, and a one looking forward to you visiting. 

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