Environmental

Walking for our mental health

To wrap up National Walking Month, at WorkLife by OpenMoney, we wanted to demonstrate how getting out in open spaces and walking is not only good for your physical health, but can help your mental wellbeing also.

Leah Heath

Wellbeing Advisor

May 23, 2022

To wrap up National Walking Month, at WorkLife by OpenMoney, we wanted to demonstrate how getting out in open spaces and walking is not only good for your physical health, but can help your mental wellbeing also. Our mental wellbeing partners, Thrive, note five main ways in which going outdoors and walking can be positive for our mental wellbeing.

1. The Benefits of Green Spaces

There has been much research that has found a link between access to green space, such as fields, parks and gardens, and a reduced risk of mental health problems, improved mood and increased life satisfaction.

2. Staying Active

There is also a link between how much time we spend outdoors and how physically active we are. As well as the benefits to our physical health, exercise may also reduce the risk of anxiety and depression. Exercising for as little as five minutes in a green space has been shown to improve mood and feelings of self-esteem.

3. Mindfulness

Taking time out of our busy lives to reflect on nature can be positive for our mental health. Practising mindfulness can reduce feelings of stress and increase feelings of self-compassion and empathy and nature is a great place to try this.

4. Connecting with others

Use green spaces to meet and socialise with friends and family whenever possible. We are social beings and connecting with others in itself lifts our mood, which is important for our social wellbeing! Leaning on our social support network when we might be feeling a little down or stressed can help us to feel supported and increases our resilience.

5. Inspiring creativity

Lastly, many people actually feel more creative when they are outside! Nature inspires us, we can use the outdoors for painting, photography, writing, dancing, music and so on. We are surrounded by stimuli outside that can help us to create things or come up with new ideas and we should take advantage of this.

So with that in mind, remember that walking, and getting out in nature is valuable to your mental wellbeing as well as physical! The benefits are tenfold, so get yourselves moving and spend some time in the great outdoors.