Nature is nurture – Forest walks improve mental health
Mental health is something that we should all talk about. Getting out in nature by going on forest walks has been proven to be a great way to start improving your mental health and well-being.
Interestingly, improving mental health not only has immediate benefits on your well-being but it also leads to positive effects on your memory, brain function and it is important for your future brain health.
Taking a small step, like going for a walk in nature can have a dramatic effect on lifting mood and reducing anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that surrounding yourself with nature, by going for a forest walk for example, can reduce cortisol levels; which is the stress chemical that can cause damage to cells within your body including the brain. Other health bonuses that people experience include a reduction in blood pressure and a reduction pulse rate (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6351942/).
Not only is it important to look after your mental health for the immediate health benefits you will experience but it is also beneficial for your long term brain health. It is widely accepted that long term stress can cause structural changes to the brain which can cause changes to memory and cognition (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/). Regular forest walks would be a great way to help reduce your stress levels and improve your overall general well being and brain health. Find a forest near you and give it a go!
The link will take you to a place where you can find a forest near you https://www.forestryengland.uk/
Happy forest walking!