A nature walk is the most inexpensive form of physical exercise. Exposing yourself to nature improves your overall well being. I have kept my sanity through the corona crisis courtesy all the nature walks that we were allowed to do within the government prescribed radius at different stages of the pandemic. We were blessed to be surrounded by woods and forests that we could venture into but I am conscious of the fact that many people around the world have had to stay indoors and led sedentary lifestyles. This has come at a cost- muscle loss, stiffness, weight gain, frozen shoulders, back aches and what not. Nature has a profound impact on our brain and behavior. I firmly believe that it positively effects our intra-personal and inter-personal well being. Nature calms your nerves and relaxes the mind & body and in turn makes you more aware of your surroundings.
- Nature walks can be healing and meditative: Being in nature increases pleasant feelings. As a psychologist, I have had a very rewarding experience when I tried counselling my patients out in the nature as opposed to indoors in a more formal chair and coffee table setting. Being in nature reduces stress, anxiety, fear and anger. It opens up the heart and the mind.
- Nature walks can be soothing and calming: I had lost a cousin a few years ago to anorexia. For a long time, I had trouble coming to terms with it but the more I walked in the nearby park, the more I was flooded with happy childhood memories; of the time spent with Fauzia. The deep maroon henna motifs in her chubby little palms came flashing amidst the lush green grass that I walked on. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there”-Rumi. In short, nature helps us cope with pain and you slowly relieve yourself of the suffering. There is a certain calming effect that the nature walks had on me. It’s inexplicable but I felt a powerful force out in the nature that pulled me out of misery. You have to experience it to believe it.
- Nature walks can improve attention and memory: We as human beings are naturally drawn to nature because of its beauty and overall appeal. When out in the wilderness, the mind is attentive to little details and I personally feel that I can remember complex trekking trails quite effortlessly as compared to remembering rather simple road routes with or without the help of the GPS. Fascinating, isn’t it? There has been research on children with ADHD which indicates that time spent in nature increases their attention span later.
I encourage you to go for a walk out in a park or near a lake if that is possible. If you can’t step out for whatever reason, at least try spot walking with a soothing track playing in the backdrop. While doing so you can focus on a house plant or any natural green that reflects nature. Some effort is better than no effort. I wish you all good health. May nature and mother earth heal us.