New Study Shows Walking in Nature Reduces Stress
A recent study done at the University of Michigan and published in “Frontiers in Psychology” shows that a twenty-minute walk in a natural setting actually reduces the amount of stress hormones in your bloodstream.
When we are under stress, our body releases a chemical called “cortisol” into our blood, which prepares us for “fight or flight” – we get hormonally juiced up in case we either have to defend ourselves or run away. The problem is, most of us spend too much time in this over-aroused state, and that is very hard on our brains and bodies. Short-term this response is a very adaptive benefit, but long-term it can kill us.
Anything we can do to restore our cortisol levels to a normal balance is going to eliminate the negative effects of stress, and that’s why research on walking outside to decrease stress hormones is so important – instead of taking a stimulant or anti-depressant, a simple walk can return us to feeling happy, peaceful, energized and less stressed.
The study demonstrated that a pleasant stroll in nature three times per week dropped the amount of cortisol in the blood by 10%, enough for people to notice a significant difference.
It’s important to note that stress doesn’t only affect the emotions, it affects physical health too. Stress has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, chronic pain, and many other conditions. Being stuck in that stress response makes our muscles tighter, our blood pump faster, and our digestion decrease in efficiency and effectiveness. Our body does not care about healing or regenerating when it feels like it is in survival mode.
So when you relax, or do something fun, or take a nice walk, you are helping your body physically, chemically and emotionally, by reducing stress and encouraging healthy function with good lifestyle choices. If you need guidance on choosing the best strategies for you and your family, consult with us, as your family chiropractor, or we can put you in touch with and a team of natural health and wellness professionals.
Work a short walk into your schedule a few times per week – you’ll feel better, live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.
Of course, chiropractic has also been shown to help remove our bodies from that fight or flight stress response and balance our nervous system function. Make sure to schedule an adjustment if you are dealing with a lot of stress, so we can ensure proper nervous system communication. It is vital for you to function at your optimal potential!