Have you ever heard about the vitamin G?
Vitamin G is the name found by scientists for the benefits of contact with nature: “G for green“. Yet every day you have access to it for free and take advantage of Mental benefits of hiking for your mental health. In recent years, a growing number of researchers have been interested in the impact of nature on our health, and several studies have already shown how contact with nature improves our physical health.
One of the best-known studies revealed that convalescents in a hospital with a room overlooking a park were recovering much faster than others. Other research has since established many other positive impacts of nature on our physical health such as lower respiratory problems, blood pressure, and cortisol, the stress hormone, or improvement of the immunity. After two days of walking in the forest, the effects would be visible for a month.
The Mental benefits of hiking
The University of Melbourne in Australia has just shown that simply contemplating nature increases concentration and therefore productivity at work. After viewing 150 students with images of the natural environment (versus urban images), the scientists noticed a significant increase in the performance of students who benefited from green breaks.
Previous studies have also shown that the presence of plants in the office is significantly correlated with productivity and reduced work stoppages and also having a window overlooking the greenery reduces employee stress when there is a lot of work.
In addition to productivity or reducing stress, contact with nature would also awaken our creativity at very high level. So spending four-day immersion in the wilderness could increase it by 50% according to psychologists from the University of Kansas in the United States, who conducted the experiment with thirty invited volunteers for the occasion to a hike in the big American parks.
Free your mind
Hiking in a natural environment enhances our feeling of well-being, and the effects are much more beneficial than a simple walk in the city.
The virtues of walking on physical health are many, but you must know that being in contact with nature is also good for our brains!
Indeed, hiking in the wilderness increases the immediate positive effects on the mind, leading to an improvement in general well-being, which is not the case for walking in urban areas.
Walking in nature has a direct impact on the part of our brain that affects our mood, especially sadness, anxiety, and depression.
Boost her brain
No need to suffer from mental health disorders to be able to immediately feel the benefits of hiking in our brain!
Studies show that performance for tasks requiring creative thinking and complex problem solving increased by 50% in subjects spending more time in contact with nature and less time in contact with new technologies.
In addition, it was found that people walking regularly and hikers had a better memory than those who spend less time outdoors.
Regular contact with nature stimulates our brain and contributes to the restoration of cognitive functions, such as memory and concentration.
Open your perspectives
Some people tend to ruminate and focus on negative thoughts or experiences. The hike will allow to let his spirit escape and thus reduce this type of negative and obsessive thoughts.
Training on a treadmill is a very good exercise to improve the overall mental state. But hiking in nature is even better to fight against the symptoms of stress or depression.
The diversity of forest landscapes, mountains, trails or beaches is much more fascinating than contemplating the walls of a gym. It is not difficult to imagine that walking in the wilderness – or even in a park – greatly increases our level of happiness.
the anti-depressive effects of contact with nature have been seriously studied, notably by Stanford University in the United States. It turns out that nature walks are good for our brains, makes us more positive and less prone to ruminations, a major risk factor for depression, thus preserving our mental health. The result is visible from the first 90-minute walk. About twenty volunteers went for a walk in the countryside while another group was walking, for the same amount of time, in an urban environment.
Mood questionnaires before and after the walk were distributed to participants as well as brain scans. The result: a slight but significant improvement in mental health indicators after only 90 minutes of walking in nature, fewer ruminations and less brain activity in the brain area related to these negative thoughts. These first observable results on the brain validate what the traditional wisdom has been advocating for a long time: to be in contact with nature and to contemplate it is the best passport against moroseness!
We know that regular physical activity helps our body function properly. But let’s be honest … setting up a daily 30-minute running session requires a good dose of motivation, effort, and willingness!
On the other hand, the idea of a small outdoor walk or a real hike seems immediately more attractive … and these outdoor walks are especially much easier challenges to undertake for the majority of us.
Good news! Research shows us today that the health benefits of walking are as numerous as those provided by running – in some cases, outperforming them!
To cut oneself off from the world
Indulging in the hike can really disconnect.
We are all constantly watching our screens, our phones. We are always connected to different networks through new technologies. And this continuous flow of information is exhausting for the body.
Walking in places without WiFi helps to reduce the effects of mental fatigue that involves the use of all these connected objects.
Doctors now prescribe the hike
Progressive doctors have spent time in a natural environment after stress relief and better overall physical health. More and more nature prescription writers or advocates of therapy to reduce anxiety, stress and to fight against depression. Besides, “Prescriptions of Nature” are associated with health service providers, health care providers, health workers, outdoor therapies, physical exercises and time spent in the wild.
For example, in the United States, California, where Golden Gate has promoted its Healthy Parks Healthy People program. In this program, local organizations were treated with health professionals to promote green spaces and their therapeutic use by residents.
Wanna you Become a hiker? How to start?
Hiking is one of the cheapest sports you can do. Also, hiking is an entertaining and beneficial activity for the whole family. – If you are a beginner, do not try to tackle the problematic paths immediately, such as the GR20 or the most demanding stages of the Way of Compostela.
Instead, try starting small hikes in your area. Discover the small paths around your city and progress gradually towards walks whose difficulty and length correspond to your rhythm. – Search online for hiking guides in your area.
There are also smartphone apps to find tracks or trails that match your level and your tastes. – Take care to wear hiking shoes that are sturdy and adapted to the terrain. – Consider investing in a pair of walking sticks that reduce knee strain, increase your pace and improve your balance. – A plan as many clothes as needed based on time.
Only wear breathable clothing that is breathable and moisture-resistant (such as silk, polypropylene, wool, and fleece):
these materials reduce perspiration and retain heat. – use glasses and cream to protect yourself from the sun. – Finally, do not forget to protect yourself from the dangers of dehydration and enjoy your walk!