Take Your Exercise Routine Outdoors

                          By Kristin Pulling

Fall is finally here! With Fall comes changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and the opportunity to enjoy nature during this beautiful time of year. Most people already know that hiking has many physical benefits. Lesser known, but equally important, are the mental health benefits of hiking.

The world’s urban population is increasing quickly and it is estimated that by 2050, two-thirds of the population will live in an urban setting. Unfortunately, research suggests that urban living has a negative impact on mental health[1].

Fortunately for city dwellers, there is a way to combat the urban blues. Researchers have discovered that “walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression”[2]. A study, conducted by Stanford University Researchers, evaluated two groups of study participants. The first group walked for an hour and a half in nature, surrounded by trees, grass and shrubs. The second group walked for the same amount of time, but in an urban setting with heavy traffic. According to Stanford University, participants who walked in nature “showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression” immediately after their walk.

The results of this study suggest that a 90-minute walk in nature may cause immediate positive mental health benefits. If your mood could use a boost, walking outside in nature may be the answer!



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996208/

[2] http://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/