Nature is a beautiful place to spend time. Whether it’s a hike around a lake in the neighborhood or a trip to the nearby mountains or prairie for a day-long event, getting yourself in nature is good for both your sleep and health. Let’s look at two huge areas of life that have been scientifically proven to improve with hikes in nature.
Hiking in nature helps children who have ADHD.
In recent years, more and more children have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which means these children have a difficult time focusing on a task without relenting to distractions. In an effort for parents to stay away from prescribing their hyperactive child to medication as the only solution, doctors have studied the impact of exposure to nature and the effect on impulse control. Guess what? It works! The doctors found that children with ADHD who were regularly exposed to nature were able to easily control impulses in situations that typically caused distress, such as school.
Nature and lack of technology can stop inescapable, negative thoughts.
Altogether, people who are accustomed to hiking outdoors know the calm and peaceful feelings are almost instant when hiking away from everything. This study referenced above states that there is a difference in neural activity of the subgenual prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain related to mental illness) when a person leaves technology behind and goes for a hike in the wilderness. The people who hiked in nature saw reduced levels of rumination. However, doctors who observed people who went for a walk in urban areas did not show any change in neural activity, thus proving that hiking in the wilderness is where the difference matters. When rumination is reduced, people have fewer negative, damaging thoughts and mental illnesses, such as depression, are treated naturally.
When you treat your body in healthy ways all around, you are more likely to have a better sleep life. We know that sleep and health are directly related, so hiking in nature brings about a unique cyclical relationship between health, sleep, success, and happiness.
It is amazing what nature can do! Get out there and live your #NolAhdventures!