It is somewhat obvious that hiking can do wonders for our physical health. With all the hills and climbs that occur during a hike, who wouldn’t feel as though their body was getting in shape. What many people don’t realize is that there are also benefits that hiking provides for our mental health. There are people all around the world who find clarity and enlightenment on the trail. It is important to highlight how useful a good hike can be for our mental health.
You know that feeling you get when you just need to get outside and breath some fresh air? Those who suffer from mental health issues often feel that way quite frequently. Whether it is depression, bipolar, or even just a stressful day, a brief 90 minutes in the great outdoors can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. It was said that an hour outside was enough to help. Experts are now saying that a full 90 minutes could change measures within the brain and help to combat illnesses such as depression.
In a study conducted by Stanford University, those suffering from mental illnesses were asked to help test the theory. The study was focusing on the psychological aspect of rumination, where one often over thinks about their self and past events that still loom on their emotions. The study sent some people to urban areas for 90-minute walks while the others went into nature for their part of the study. Upon returning they were asked questions in regards to rumination and also given scans (also conducted prior to the walks). Those on the nature hikes found to have less negative thoughts in their brain waves and even better results on the brain scans.
As major cities continue to pop up around the world, psychologists believe it could hinder the mental health of many people. The calming effect that nature brings to us is something that can help to better mental illnesses of many who suffer. Spending time becoming one with nature has already proven its countless benefits. Who know, maybe a hike or a move out of major city could be the new prescription written out for those who suffer with mental health.