Why does walking make us feel good? We all know that a satisfying stroll changes our outlook. Perhaps we realize it all the more today, when so many of us are hunkered down and this simple activity is a challenge. But walking is especially important now, with gyms and team sports shut down. It’s one of our few accessible forms of exercise but also one that is directly affected by stay-at-home orders. What we usually do automatically now takes serious intention…
“(Patients) welcome the humanizing effect of taking therapy outdoors and are typically hoping to multitask by incorporating their therapy session with exercise. “The power dynamic shifts in a walking session versus an office setting,” Udler said. “If you’re the client and you’re coming in to see me in my office, it’s my space. It’s my chair. You have your chair. It’s my decorations. It’s my family photos. Outside, it’s our space.”
The lack of sunshine in the winter increases the risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — a form of depression.
“In the winter and fall months, some people are prone to have depression,” psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Okpaku said.
While the exact causes of SAD is unknown, the reduction in sunlight in winter can throw your biological clock out of whack and reduce levels of serotonin — a brain chemical that influences mood — and melatonin — a chemical which regulates sleep and mood.
“The further you are away from the equator, the more likely you’re going to have Seasonal Affective Disorder,” Dr. Okpaku said.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are:
- feeling blue or depressed
- fatigue, low energy
- Trouble concentrating
- appetite, weight changes
- lack of interest
Another therapist grasps the Trailtalk concept with outdoor therapy and is featured in Runner’s World.
BY JUSTIN HOUSMAN | OCTOBER 22, 2018
It just so happens that doctors are increasingly starting to realize time spent outdoors can be an excellent treatment for chronic health issues. So doctors in the Shetlands are now issuing “nature prescriptions” as part of an initiative to address health issues without drugs if you can imagine that.
For everything from high blood pressure to diabetes, anxiety, and depression, the medical community is learning (though lots of us have always known) that many ailments and diseases can be treated with activities like birdwatching, maybe a little kayaking, perhaps combing a beach for shells, even skipping pebbles across a slow-moving stream. Even just sitting silently in a forest, meditating (see: Japan, forest bathing).
Check out this curated source of articles with a brief introduction to the science of Forest Therapy:
– A curated collection of journalism and research
– Reset the Stress Button
– Boost Immune Functioning
– Phytoncides: How the Trees Heal
- Kick-Start your Creativity
– Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful