A Nature Walk Can Do Wonders for Your Wellbeing
Have you ever noticed just how good it feels to take a walk in nature? A lakeside stroll or a rural ramble can do amazing things for your state of mind - and there are scientific studies to prove it, too.
A growing body of research suggests that getting out into nature helps us to beat stress and enhance overall wellbeing.
One group of researchers from Stanford University claims, "urbanisation is associated with increased levels of mental illness". As part of their research, the group exposed city dwellers to various environments and monitored their levels of rumination - that is, "a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses."
The group found that participants who undertook a 90-minute nature walk "showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness", suggesting that "accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world".
In the simplest sense, this research indicates that taking a relaxing nature walk can help to reduce stress levels.
And although office workers may not have the liberty of a spare 90 minutes during the working day, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
Take to Your Feet in Fleet
For those working from UBC's Sentinel House in Fleet, one fantastic natural landscape right on the doorstep is Fleet Pond.
It’s a rather underwhelming name for an impressive nature reserve and the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire. It is surrounded by heathland, woodland, reedbed and marsh, making it an important habitat for many species of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and wild flowers.
There are various walks around the reserve including three designated walks of varying lengths:
Fleet Pond is a 5-minute drive from Sentinel House, making it the ideal escape for a lunchtime stroll or an evening jog. The main car park is free of charge and situated just off Cove Road (A3012).
Daily exercise is important, both for your physical and mental wellbeing. There has never been a better excuse to nip out on your lunch break and enjoy some of the fantastic natural landscapes right on your office doorstep.
Image credit: The above photograph of Fleet Pond was taken by Angela Stephens in 2020 (fleetpond.org.uk/members-gallery).