Well-being—that magical blend of comfort, health, and happiness—can be an elusive state if you have chronic stress, pain, or disease. But what if you could increase feelings of well-being simply by going for a walk in nature? A growing body of research says you can. Studies are finding that people are healthier, happier, more creative, and feel “more alive” when they connect with nature.
So excuse yourself from your computer screen, iPhone, or television, and take a nature break. It’s summer in Maine! Get out and enjoy the natural splendor that tourists flock here to bask in. Walk the beaches. Hike the mountains. Go for a paddle. Google “walking trails” in your area. Do it for your good health and to find that well-being sweet spot.
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort—all the more reason to push yourself to get outside. A 2016 UK study found that interacting with nature helped people suffering from physical illness, depression, and anxiety control their symptoms and even get better, in conjunction with conventional medication. Another study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States (PNAS) came to a similar conclusion, with a focus on mental health.
Just being in nature is good for you according to the research, but when you add exercise: walking, hiking, cycling, paddling, swimming, you get a double dose of healthy benefits. And a walk in the woods costs a lot less than a gym membership.
Soaking up natural vitamin D is another benefit of being outside. Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones and also protects against cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.
Cannabis is a Great Hiking Buddy
You can take your cannabis with you on your outside adventures; a vaporizer and/or edibles will fit easily in your daypack, along with your water bottle. You might even find that cannabis enhances your enjoyment of the outdoors. Many people experience a renewed appreciation for the colors, patterns, and sounds of nature and feel a deeper connection to the web of life.
It’s summer in Maine. Turns out, that’s some of the best medicine there is. What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy nature? We’d love to know how spending time outdoors affects your well-being!