The connection between humans and nature is unbreakable as human itself is the vary part of nature, during the early stages of evolution the hunter-gatherers lived in close proximity with nature and outdoors hence we are born with affiliations towards nature, i.e., nature has the amazing properties of healing us from inside out, the more we live in proximity of nature and environment the more we develop, in this article, we are going to discuss the impacts of green exercises in our optimal wellness.
What are green exercises?
You might be wondering why is there so much buzz around the green exercises? Let’s first understand what these green exercises are, the answer is physical exercises that are performed in natural environments are called green exercises. Green exercises include diverse activities like walking, running, cycling, gardening, horse riding, and much more. Research has associated green exercise with several physical and psychological benefits which we will discuss further.
Why do we need green exercises?
Thanks to modernization, we are living a sedentary life which is in no way good for us, we are falling more prone to various diseases and obesity, our mental health has also deteriorated, in last few years the level of stress and anxiety among youngsters has reached the peak so we are in dire need of getting mental and physical balance and here the green exercises come into play. Green exercises have been accoladed by researcher for being extremely beneficial and accessible for people leading a sedentary life.
Benefits of green exercises
Below are some physical and mental health benefits of green exercises.
- Boost in self- esteem and mood: Researchers have found that the more time we spend outside with nature the more our mood and self esteem improves. Interestingly, the first five minutes of green exercises have the biggest impact on the mood and self-esteem.
- Improved focus and efficiency: Researches have cited those outdoor exercises increase the rate of adherence to a particular exercise routine, the nature has many beautiful things to offer hence our visual distraction increase and we feel less fatigued and train harder.
- Boosted levels of vitamin D: Living indoors limits the amount of sun exposure whereas green exercises provide us with ample sun exposure to receive an adequate amount of vitamin D, deficiency of which makes us vulnerable to various chronic diseases.
- Improved quality of sleep: when we exercise our muscles become tired and demand rest but at the same time our mind needs to be stress and anxiety free for a great sleep experience and green exercises do both, the combination of physical tiredness and mental calmness results in a good night’s sleep.
- Involvement of different muscle groups: green exercises make us use different muscle groups of our body as compared to indoor routines, hence green exercises make it possible for the whole body to get the adequate movement and activity in every part of body, ensuring our overall wellbeing.
Mechanism behind the impact of green exercises
This remains a question how green exercises bring such tremendous benefits to our lives? Several researches have been conducted to find out but the exact reasons are still unrevealed.
However according to “attention restoration theory,” exposure to natural environments can help people relax and regain their mental composure. This is why looking at vegetation can be a refreshing way to take your mind off of what’s going on around you, as well as because plants tend to be more natural and interesting than manufactured objects. Recently, a new theory has been proposed that attempts to define this process. The ecological dynamics approach suggests that green environments provide challenging and intense “affordances” which together prompt a beneficial set of emotions and feelings.
Advanced Green Exercises
Owing to the popularity and efficacy of green exercises many therapies have been developed by organizations and medical institutes which involve green exercises and these therapies are helping people with mental health issues of students and several other chronic diseases.
- Ecotherapy: Ecotherapy or nature therapy is quite popular in United Kingdom, here a therapist leads you through various activities that aim at balancing your bond with nature and bringing you to a state of physiological relaxation which results in boosting immune system. The concept of ecotherapy is more farfetched than any outdoor physical activity. It also includes intentional work or activities with animals, and any wilderness protection programs. The whole idea is to improve your overall physical and mental well-being in the proximity of nature.
- Forest Bathing: Forest bathing is quite popular in Japan. It includes walking mindfully in a forest. Japan’s forest agency has designated several national trails as forest therapy trails. Forest bathing involves enjoying the natural environment with all five senses. It aims at stress reduction and mindfulness. It doesn’t entail that you have to go on an extreme hike into the forest. All you have to do is walk mindfully and fully engross your senses in the atmosphere of the forest.
Human and environment have mutual effects on each other, though the impact of human activities on environment is toward the negative side but environment affects us positively. Most of the time, and green exercises are one such example of nature’s bounty so it is time we utilize the benefits nature has in store for us and at the same time it is our duty to protect and save the nature.