Whether it is a lazy date night in, a meditative breathing exercise, or a much-needed trip to the yoga studio — we are all on the hunt for ways to de-stress from tiresome workweeks, daily irritants and unnecessary drama. But according to a study in Frontiers on Psychology, the secret ignition to relaxation is (literally!) a walk in the park.
Ming Kuo, lead researcher in this study, suggests that walking outside shifts our bodies from stress-mode to rest-mode and allows our bodies to re-focus on daily tasks like digestion and cell renewal. Unlike city walkers who showed less significant improvement, participants who walked in a forested area exhibited a higher level of DHEA (which has cardio protective, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic properties), adiponectin (which protects against atherosclerosis) among many other health benefits.
“Nature doesn’t just have one or two active ingredients. It’s more like a multivitamin that provides us with all sorts of the nutrients we need,” says lead researcher Ming Kuo. Sunshine causes our bodies to produce Vitamin D, plants give off phytoncides which boosts our immune system — in fact, simply sitting in front of a window has been proven to reduce sympathetic nervous activity, restore attention, and promote healing from surgery!
So the next time you are feeling stressed beyond repair, try grabbing an Uber (and a friend or two) to the outskirts of the city to relax with Mother Nature. We are sure you will be de-stressed and ready to face your day again in no time.
Do you feel more relaxed in nature? We would love to know in the comments below!
(Photos via Philipp Guelland/Getty)