Study Finds the Mind Prefers a Run Through the Forest vs. the Gym
I’m really enjoying mind-body topics because I think they are critical in helping us become healthier, happier people.
A new study finds that people with depression and anxiety benefit more from a run or stroll through a forest or park than the same exercise at the local gym.
In fact, the benefits are TWICE as good.
Glasgow University researchers compared exercising in natural versus non-natural environments and found that the positive mental health effects were 50% more than in an indoor environment like a gym.
Again, most of these studies hearten me more than they surprise me.
It shouldn’t be a shock that walking or jogging among majestic trees would be gentler on the soul and mind than a room full of metal equipment and people plugged into digital devices.
Whenever I go to the gym, in fact, I choose a window with a view over a blank wall or view of other people on machines.
Because I find the natural scenery more soothing and appealing, especially when combined with the meditative music or motivational seminars I like listening to.
Scientists weren’t necessarily surprised by the fact that the mind and brain find the natural environment more relaxing and cleansing. But they were surprised by the extent of the added benefits.
Of course, it’s not always realistic for us to take a daily stroll in a forest. People living in inner cities and metropolitan areas are lucky sometimes to find even a park they find safe and appealing.
But people suffering from mild depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, and other similar symptoms can especially take advantage of nature’s healing aspects.
Our minds prefer a natural environment because we are PART of the natural environment.
It’s the same reason we like falling asleep to the sounds of babbling brooks and crashing waves as opposed to machine gun fire and jack hammers.
The soul and mind know what they like. They like serenity and peace and the natural environment.
It’s only appropriate that research continues to reinforce this more and more.