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The Closest Thing We have To A Wonder Drug -Why Walking Outdoors is the best Healthy Addiction!

Updated: May 30

As we go about our busy, daily lives, it’s easy to forget the importance of taking care of our physical and mental health.

One simple yet powerful way to improve our overall well-being is by incorporating walking and spending time outdoors into our daily routine. Not only is walking a low-impact exercise that can be done by almost anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, but it also offers a multitude of health benefits that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

With its numerous physical and mental health benefits, it’s no surprise that walking is often referred to as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.” And that’s just walking - now add the benefits of nature and you get a double dose of health!

Heart Health 

Regular walking can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, walking can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and increase good cholesterol levels. Additionally, walking can also help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Mental Health

Just being outdoors can have a profound impact on our mental health. Immersing in nature has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and even alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The fresh air, sunlight, and natural sounds of nature can help calm the mind and promote feelings of relaxation, safety, and well-being.

Spending just 10 minutes swinging in a hammock can reduce stress by up to 70%.

Immune System

Walking outdoors can also boost our immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections. Additionally, being in nature has been shown to reduce inflammation, which is a major contributor to chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

Weight Management

Walking is an effective way to manage and maintain a healthy weight. Regular walking can help burn calories, increase metabolism, and build muscle mass. Additionally, walking outdoors can also help reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks and improve overall appetite regulation.

Sleep Quality

Walking outdoors can also improve sleep quality by regulating our circadian rhythms and promoting a sense of relaxation. Exposure to natural light during the day can help regulate our sleep-wake cycles, leading to improved sleep quality and duration.

Bone Density

Walking is also an effective way to improve bone density, particularly in older adults. Weight-bearing exercise like walking can help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. For even better results, add a weighted rucksack, or try hiking.

Tips for Incorporating Walking and Outdoor Time into Your Daily Routine

  • Start Small: Begin with short walks of 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increase duration and frequency.

  • Take breaks: Take short breaks to rest and stretch during longer walks.

  • Mix It Up: Vary your walking route or terrain to keep things interesting and prevent boredom.

  • Make it A New Habit: Incorporate walking into your daily routine, such as right after a meal, during your lunch break, or walking to work.

  • Take Out: Whatever you plan to do, take it outside. Being present in nature can help individuals develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance, like meditation does. 

  • Visit the Flowers: Check out a local Botanical Garden or nearby park.

  • Find a Walking Buddy: Having a walking partner can help keep you motivated and accountable.

  • Walking The Dog: We believe dogs are the best excuse to get outside and take a walk. If you don't have a dog, this might be your sign to get one.

But Wait – There’s More

Some additional benefits reported are that natural environments can help to inspire more creativity and improve problem-solving skills. Also, being in nature with others can strengthen social bonds and create new connections at home or in your community.

If you are uncomfortable walking or hiking alone, then this is a great time to plan a walking date together with a friend, family member, co-worker, or even a neighbor.

It’s Powerful!

Walking and spending time outdoors is a simple, yet powerful way to improve our overall health and well-being. It's powerful - like a drug, so make a healthy addiction by incorporating walking and outdoor time into our daily routine.

When we can improve our heart health, mental health, immune system, weight management, sleep quality, and bone density all at once - what's stopping you now from lacing up your shoes and getting outside?

Your Body – and Mind – will Thank You!

We hope our information inspires you to embrace the outdoors, even if it's just  in your own backyard.

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