Wildlife Walks for Wellness

If doing a fitness class isn't for you, you can still get  outdoors to boost your step count in wildlife.  7,500 steps a day, and  2 hours in wildlife per week have been shown scientifically to improve physical and mental health...

 

References:

 

“Employee Health and Wellbeing”, CIPD

 https://www.cipd.co.uk/news-views/viewpoint/employee-health-well-being

 

“Five Ways to Wellness;” Mind

 https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/

 

“The Natural Remedy” Emma Mitchell 

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Wild-Remedy-by-Emma-Mitchell-author/9781789290424

 

“How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health” Yale School of the Environment, January 2020

https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health

 

“Thriving in Nature” A Guide by The Mental Health Foundation, 2021

 https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/thriving-with-nature/guide

 

“How Does Nature Impact Wellbeing” University of Minnesota 

https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

 

“Nature and Mental Health”, Mind 

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/how-nature-benefits-mental-health/

 

“Nature Gave Us Four Types of Happiness”, Loretta G. Breuning (PhD) https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/your-neurochemical-self/201107/nature-gave-us-four-kinds-happiness

 

"What Happens to Your Body When You start Walking 10,000 Steps a Day”, Readers Digest December 2021 https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/fitness/walking-10000-steps-a-day/

 

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-science-actually-says-about-taking-10-000-steps-a-day_b_610874f9e4b0497e67026bdd

 

“Health Impacts of Yoga and Pranayama:A State of the Art Review”,  International Journal of Preventative Medicine, July 2021 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415184/

There is a growing science that shows that the four hormones which promote wellbeing - endorphin, serotonin, dopamine and  oxytocin are boosted during sensory immersion in Nature. Walking 7,500 steps a day is also linked to a longer, healthier life as physical activity releases endorphins. That's why when you're active on a Wildlife Walk you buzz with extra positive energy from nature's medicine cabinet.

 

Seeing natural fractals in clouds, water and plants, listening to the wind rustle leaves (psythorism), and birds sing releases serotonin. There are also passive, secret exchanges happening as we breathe in volatile, antimicrobial substances called phytoncides from living plants, and interact with micro- organisms in leaf litter (Mycobacterium fascii).

Dopamine, the reward hormone is released when you learn a new skill, or reinforce learning, for example when you identify a bird, or remember its song. Developing skills like these is amazing for your brain too! Learning new skills and routes creates new neural pathways which help keep conditions like Altzeimers at bay. So engagement in nature can actually future proof your holistic health, and this is something long recognised by a preventive Japanese healthcare therapy called Shinrin Yoku,  meaning  "forest bathing".

You will need some field and mindfulness skills to immerse fully and get the most benefit. So having someone knowledgable unlock the treasures of nature with the gift of story, expertise in bird ecology, and experience teaching field and mindfulness techniques (like pranayama, and meditation) should give you the foundation you need to develop your own practice. It deepens and grows with time, and what's better, when you share the experience with others you stimulate a forth hormone, oxytocin!

You can even get some of the same positive hormonal effects through seeing and sharing images of nature online. Sarah created Facebook Group, Corona Flower Show to help people during the pandemic by doing just this. Its open to anyone, so please join!

Find out more about your guide's background here.

Photos taken at Hollow Ponds by Sarah Brocklehurst