A walk among the tress could be just the medicine as nature walks have been linked with lowering depression and stress levels and promoting better mental health, a new study suggests.
Joining a nature walk group is an inexpensive and low risk activity which contributes to a positive mood boost as well as improving mental and emotional well-being, according to the study published in Ecopsychology.
Researchers from the University of Michigan, along with De Montfort University, James Hutton Institute and Edge Hill University in the UK studied nearly 2,000 participants from the Walking for Health program. The program facilitates around 3,000 weekly walks with more than 70,000 walkers a year.
The study focused on the mental health and well-being benefits of walking and found that group nature walks are linked with “significantly” lower depression, especially for Individuals who recently experienced stressful life events including a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or unemployment.
The exercise along with both nature and group settings can not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression, according to the researchers.
Depression the most common mental disorder in Britain and about a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, according to the Mental Health Foundation in the UK.