Do you ever take note of how great you feel when you can look at a babbling brook, or get a whiff of fresh outdoor air during the course of a workday? The reason for this could be that simply being out in nature enhances your mood and could possibly enhance your life.
A study in Medical News Today shows that individuals who take a walk have “higher levels of creativity and that brisk walking might offer health benefits for those suffering Parkinson’s.” Simply getting up and moving about is healthier than sitting all day. When you add in a walk in the woods or even a walk down the street to check your mail or talk to a neighbor and you are doubling the healthful impacts – getting exercise and being outside in nature.
Here are tips for caregivers and aging loved ones when it comes to enjoying nature and enhancing your health:
- Wear shoes that offer non-skid soles, arch support and that are comfortable. A 30-minute walk a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, help you control your weight or even lower the risk of developing diabetes.
- Use a walking stick to aid in both balance and calorie burning effects. Using walking sticks or walking poles will help you navigate any potentially rough or uneven terrain, but using these sticks also engages your upper body and that adds to the health benefits.
- Use the buddy system when you’re walking. Even a walk around the neighborhood could turn risky if you suffer a trip or fall in which case a mobile medical alert system with GPS could be helpful. Walking with a friend is recommended also as it will enhance safety for both of you but will also give you someone to talk with making the time more enjoyable.
- If the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor walking, check with the local high school to see if they offer indoor walking for adults after school is out – many do. If it’s close by, walk at the mall.
- If you have access to hiking trails that are amenable to beginning walkers, grab a friend and your walking poles and get in a hike in the woods.
It has been shown that if you are close to nature you might just be healthier. Do a test for yourself and see if you feel more relaxed after sitting on a beach or a deck looking out over the water. Take a walk in the woods and see if that doesn’t just have you breathing easier and feeling better for having been out in nature.
Even if you live in the city and don’t have access to a wooded area in which to walk or a beach where you can look out over the water and relax, consider adding a fountain to your yard and create your own “babbling brook nature center” where you can sit back, sip a cup of tea and simply relax.