Spring has arrived bringing joy to an early morning walk in nature - make walking a healthy habit
Are you ready to declare war on depression, anxiety and stress in your life?
To live a more grounded existence?
In doing so, attacking the social norms on a broad front.
Consider for a moment, you were naturally born to move, not sitting or lounging most of the day. To live outside more than inside, as part of and connected to nature.
So perhaps it can be argued the best medicine for a healthy enjoyable life, starts with your own two feet.
Take heart and start walking naturally.
What can walking do for the brain and your wellbeing?
Brain plasticity or Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change throughout your life no matter how old you are. It reorganises its cell connections according to conditioning but it needs new input in order to change.
Locked into comfortable habits and excuses each day, brain plasticity responds. We have grown up with lifestyle choices and mindsets programming the brain which now have to be challenged and diverted toward an habitual desire for greater natural wellbeing.
As a child with doting parents you may have been raised and driven to be constantly busy and achieving all, such that you know no difference. Start walking in nature and you’ll soon discover a soothing and differing sense of achievement.
Walking stimulates blood circulation and therefore the brain
Researchers in the New Mexico Highlands University have found that the impact of our foot prints during walks sends waves of blood through our arteries providing added supply and therefore goodness to the brain
Walking massages your memory and mood
University of British Columbia researchers have found regular aerobic exercise also boosts the hippocampus, that part of the brain a key to your verbal memory and learning. Walking can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation while stimulating growth chemicals in the brain, new blood vessels and even new cells. It influences our memory, mood swings and sleep patterns, reducing stress and anxiety which contribute to cognitive impairment.
Other studies have shown that greater benefit is derived from walking in nature than in man made environments like shopping plazas and gymnasiums.
Walking eases anxiety and controls depression
Studies have shown walking derives psychological benefits in reducing anxiety. It releases feel good natural cannibis-like brain chemicals (say natural pain-killers) clearing the mind from negative “stinking thinking” impacting your self confidence and esteem. If the body feels better, chances are so does the mind.
Creativity and concentration are nurtured while walking
It seems when you are walking full-brain thinking or function comes into play. Solutions to problems arrive, creative ideas flow. Nature offers many beneficial distractions and even lessons on how life continues despite problems.
Walking in nature presents many sensory distractions which interrupt your preoccupation with worries and ambitions.
Studies of hospital designs have shown that exposure to nature can speed patient recovery and healing.
Where possible choose a natural trail
Walking over natural terrain and surfaces calls for “executive decision making” in the brain as you adapt and negotiate surface variations under foot, stepping side to side and up and over, practicing balance and efficiency of motion.
Sure you may reach for your walking pole for confidence but the aim is to condition the body and brain to natural passage over the ground rather than flat surface zombie-like walking on suburban pathways and roads.
Prepare to walk responsibly
Walking does not require a medical prescription – however more and more doctors are prescribing walking in nature, particularly in the USA.
Any dramatic change in your lifestyle habits may require the advice of others. You should prepare conscientiously with the best advice from your doctor, natural therapist, podiatrist, nutritionist, physiotherapist or even a psychologist, all of whom have positive support to offer.
The aim is to plan a commitment to renewal and set your habits to brain changing enjoyment, one step at a time.
Walking in nature enables you to revert to a state of mindfulness, where you are fully awake in your life, relaxed in the vitality of each moment and your inner resources.
Evidence shows it can be done
Considering motivation, healthy habits are best achieved through a state or place of enjoyment rather than orchestrated, dogmatic determination or will. So many fads and resolutions fall by the board.
The desire or conviction to protect anything in life comes firstly from a love of it.
Immersion in nature is a primal stimulus for abundant fascination and enjoyment.
Our Nature Bound tours throughout Australia present guests with opportunities to enjoy guided walks in iconic natural environments.
Many of our guests are active seniors in their seventies. They are driven by a “can do” spirit, despite carrying a broad range of challenges, including everything from knees, hips, weight loss to medicinal reliance.
Their enthusiasm to enjoy walking in nature is inspirational and evidence in itself.
Each tour presents moments of mindfulness, private reflection on life values and solutions.
Taking the brain for a walk on tour can be an extension of a healthy walking habit at home, in preparing for the tour.
So get with the healthy habit if you are not already a participant. Choose an active life and when ready share your joys and experiences on a Nature Bound guided walking holidays tour.0