Hiking Trips

Hiking, mindfulness, and the healing power of nature (P2)

(P1)..Nature-based physical activity, including countryside walks, hiking, and horseback riding, has been found to be an effective way to improve the health of people with mental illness. A 2005 study showed that walking 35 minutes per day, five times per week, or 60 minutes three times per week significantly improved symptoms of depression. Walking 15 minutes per day did not have such an effect on mood. Other reported symptoms included lower blood pressure, protection against heart disease, and boosting self-esteem.  In another study, 20 British participants compared hiking outdoors in a natural setting to walking in an indoor urban shopping mall. Seventy-one percent of those who hiked outside reported a decrease in depressive symptoms while 22% reported increased depression when walking indoors. Ninety percent reported an increase in self-esteem while in nature, and 44% said self-esteem decreased when walking indoors.  Many observational and interventional studies show that regular exercise reduces symptoms of depression. In one study, 156 people with depression were divided into three groups; those who did aerobic exercise, those who took the SSRI medicine Zoloft (Sertraline), and those who exercised and took Zoloft. After 16 weeks, all three groups showed an equal response with a 70% improvement of symptoms. The group that took the prescription medicine improved quicker than the group that just did aerobic exercise.

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Hiking Trips

Hiking, mindfulness, and the healing power of nature (P1)

When you are hiking, you can practice mindful meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment. It is a mental state of focus and awareness on what is happening right now in front of you. It allows for calming and quieting the mind and bringing stillness to wandering thoughts. It acknowledges and accepts one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Just by being and moving in a natural outdoor setting, you bring your awareness and focus to the present moment. You help to calm and still the rumination of an active mind and the endless rambling of many thoughts. You free yourself from the endless activities of urban living. You free your concentration from the incessant inclusion of digital devices on your mind and consciousness. You open and accept that you are a smaller part of an immense universe. You allow the energy and life-giving force of Mother Nature to flow into you. You accept and receive the healing power of nature.

Science is beginning to validate the healing power of nature. Several studies support this notion that is one of the foundations of naturopathic medicine. In this article, I focus particularly on the mental and emotional impact of nature on human health.

G.N. Bratman from Stanford University evaluated brain activity and scores on a questionnaire in 38 subjects. Nineteen participants walked 90 minutes in a natural lush green setting around Stanford University, and 19 other participants walked for the same amount of time through an urban setting with heavy traffic. Functional MRIs showing blood flow and brain activity were performed in each group of volunteers. The MRIs showed that those who walked in an urban setting had markedly increased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex. This was associated with increased stress, anxiety, and rumination of thoughts. Those who walked in the natural setting showed decreased activity in this area of the brain. These participants also reported less rumination, anxiety and showed more attentiveness and were happier than those who walked in the urban setting.

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Hiking Trips

The Reasons Why You Should Go Hiking

In the case, you are not a fan of hiking and you have not gone hiking. It is the time for you to think of the reasons why your friends and a lot of people who always feel satisfied from completing the longest route over mountains. You will be pleasantly surprised with the legitimate reasons of your friends when they choose to wander through woods and mountain passes at the weekend. In addition, you will find out why hiking is good for you. Below are the reasons you should consider before making the decision on hiking.

Hiking is Good for Your Health

When you go hiking for a long time, you will be benefited a lot from it. We can deny the fact that a lot of studies about hiking and walking have shown that there is a firm correlation between a lot of health benefits and hiking. You will find the list very impressive. Improved mental health, reduced hypertension, weight loss, prevention of heart disease and prevention of diabetes are some of the wonderful benefits of regular hiking and walking.

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