I love hiking. So does my dog, Bella. With our busy lives, it was difficult to find the time this year to get out for the day and get into nature. The opportunity did present itself a few weekends ago, when my sisters and I had a rare free day.
We chose a more difficult trail in Maryland. By the end of the hike, my sneakers were destroyed, Bella was bleeding and we were all soaked in sweat; but, my body felt strong, my mind felt calm and my soul felt like it was beginning to finally heal from some difficult situations I’ve had to face this past year.. The hike was joyous; I was in the moment. Sometimes literal blood, sweat and tears gets us through the storms in our lives and to a new beginning. Sometimes just seeing green and breathing in fresh air is enough to turn a day around.
It doesn’t take my personal story about one therapeutic hike to know the benefits to getting out in nature. Science agrees that humans can enjoy a vast amount of benefits to being outdoors.
According to the APA:
exposure to nature has been linked to improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorder and upticks in empathy and cooperation. Nature is beneficial to human physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Even taking a walk in urban nature can be a mood-booster. Spending time in nature can ultimately even improve cognitive ability and overall happiness.
I find this information useful when working with clients. With my clients, we can create “happy lists” and “adventure menus” so we always have a list of fun activities to do in place of television and snacking. Walking outside is a popular activity to add to the list. All of my clients have an overall goal to be healthier no matter what the specific goal is; the science is clear that adding some outside time to the day or week helps in the pursuit of health and happiness.
We are in early fall and quite honestly, this is my favorite time of year to go hiking or get outside. The colors are beautiful. The temperature is right. I am looking forward to a few more fall hikes.
As always, if you would like more support in creating healthy habits, such as getting more outdoor time, or in reaching a specific health goal, I am taking new clients and happy to be of service. We start with a complete free discovery session where we talk about your goals and we figure out together if coaching is right for you. To schedule your discovery session, DM me on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org.