Spending time on the trail can help you find inspiration, tap into your inner strength, and push your limits.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to benefit from an outdoor walk. As you’ll soon discover in this article, you can enjoy physical, mental, and social benefits by spending quality time in nature, even if you’re a novice explorer.
If you’re considering adding nature walks to your routine, here are three important benefits of outdoor walks that will motivate you. But first, let’s quickly see how walking outdoors can help you find inspiration.
How the Trail Can Inspire You
Whether working on a complex project or trying to clear your head, walking outdoors can help you tap into nature’s abundant sources of inspiration that are hardly accessible when you’re hooked on technology.
Some of the ways outdoor walks can lead to inspiration include:
- Exposure to natural surroundings: From the cool breeze or warm air lightly brushing your skin to the fresh air and the natural beauty around you, walking outdoors exposes you to surroundings that can clear your headspace and stimulate your senses.
- Being alone with your thoughts: Going for solo outdoor walks is an opportunity to have quality alone time. Solitude allows you to be alone with your thoughts without distractions, which can result in new ideas, increased creativity, better insights, and inspiration.
- Change of scenery: It is common to feel “stuck” or run out of inspiration in your usual surroundings. Apart from breaking your routine, spending time on the trail provides a change of scenery, which can spark creativity.
- Blood flow from physical activity: Walking can increase blood flow to the brain. Research shows that physical activities that provide more blood to the brain can improve cognitive function.
Of course, you can do indoor exercises, but doing a handful of workout routines in closed spaces doesn’t offer the level of social interaction, exposure to weather, terrain, and natural surroundings available when you spend time on the trail.
With that out of the way, here are three major benefits of going for an outdoor walk.
Benefits of Spending Time on the Trail
1. Physical Health Benefits
Walking is a form of low-impact exercise that can improve cardiovascular health. Done correctly and regularly (at least an average of 30 minutes or more per day), the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
Going for a walk on the trail is also a good way to manage your weight. If hitting the gym isn’t particularly your thing, walking is an excellent alternative exercise for losing weight, provided you pair it with eating a healthy diet.
Also, people with bone or joint health issues can incorporate regular walking to reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
2. Mental Health Benefits
As mentioned, being in nature stimulates creative thinking and sparks inspiration. In addition to these benefits, your sleeping pattern tends to improve when you spend time walking in nature, exposed to natural sunlight.
Besides, being surrounded by nature has a stress-lowering effect and can improve your mood. And, of course, less stress and a better mood over a long period usually result in improved mental well-being.
3. Social Benefits
Outdoor walks offer opportunities for social interactions, especially if you go on the trail with a hiking partner or in groups.
Our modern society tends to force us into isolation, even when we are in public places. It is common to find people with their heads buried in work or their gadgets.
However, going for outdoor walks allows you to actually talk with people in person, not virtually. As you probably already know, social connections can significantly improve mental health.
Tips on How to Make Outdoor Walks a Part of Your Routine
Knowing the benefits of outdoor walks is one thing; fitting it into your routine is a different ball game entirely, especially if you live in an urban area or have a busy schedule.
That said, here are a few tips to help you make outdoor walks a regular part of your routine, regardless of where you live and your schedule.
Tie It to a Goal
Going for an outdoor walk can be more meaningful if you attach a goal to the activity. But you want to choose a goal that’s relevant to you (an internally-based goal), not just something you do to impress others or a goal that feels like a chore.
Here are a handful of goal ideas you might want to consider:
- To practice mindfulness
- To increase your energy levels throughout the day
- To improve your overall mood
- To boost your creativity
Choose a Convenient Time
Look at your schedule and carve out the best times for the activity. Make sure to pick a time that works best for you, not one that suits someone else (like a hiking buddy or group). You’ll have a hard time sticking to your outdoor walks if you pick the wrong time.
And in the off chance that you can’t find a suitable time to go for an outdoor walk because your schedule is too packed, you might want to consider scaling back your work responsibilities a bit and managing your stress level.
Find a Route You Like
Whether you walk in the woods or a neighborhood park, the most important thing is to pick a route with scenery and terrain you enjoy.
If a challenging hike isn’t your thing, stick to something simple. Remember, you don’t have to walk long distances across the country and camp for days. Do what’s comfortable and convenient for you.
Choose Comfortable Gear
Besides finding a scenic route you like, wearing comfortable shoes and bringing all the necessary supplies can make the experience more enjoyable. Remember, you will probably thread different paths, so choose shoes that adequately support your feet in all terrains.
Take It Slow
Quantum leaps are hardly sustainable, so make sure to start small, especially if you’re not used to walking long distances or regularly. Start with short walks, and increase the distance of your walking workout as you get the hang of things.
Track Your Progress
You can use an app or fitness tracker to track your progress. Don’t be afraid to set a goal to cover a specific distance or to spend a certain number of hours walking.
Stick to your commitment to go for outdoor walks at the specific times you choose. Don’t put it off; nothing sabotages personal growth more than giving up on your goals. Remember, staying consistent is your best bet for cultivating a habit of walking outdoors.
Going for an outdoor walk offers physical, mental, and social benefits. But you can’t fully enjoy these benefits by lacing up your boots once in a blue moon.
I’ll leave you with this thought: nature provides unlimited sources of inspiration. Why not leverage them for inspiration by making outdoor walks a regular part of your routine?