With Take A Walk Outdoors Day taking place on 20th January, a wellness brand has created a new index analysing the number of walks, the number of green spaces and their quality and the city air quality to reveal the best cities to take that walk.
The north of the UK took the top spots, with the best place to Take A Walk Outdoors being Edinburgh which achieved full marks in the index, followed by Sheffield and Newcastle.
Norwich had the most walks per capita, followed by Southampton and Sheffield, while Cardiff had the highest air quality rating at 82.95 out of a possible 100. Unsurprisingly, London scored lowest for air quality at 36.85.
Many of us are drawn to open spaces full of greenery, such as parks, fields, woods, and nature trails. Why? These tendencies could be a natural reflex to help you de-stress and recharge when the pressures of everyday life build up.
Research from the Natural Library of Medicine show’s that frequent exposure to nature and green spaces promotes better mental health and that being surrounded by greener landscapes reduces anxiety and improves our immune systems.
So what is it about green spaces that support mental health and well-being?
Wellness brand Goodrays explores the benefits of naturalistic environments and lists the top 10 most relaxing cities, including the greenest and quietest.
Promotes physical activity
Visits to green spaces are associated with higher levels of physical activity, often through walking or running. Going outside, elevating your serotonin levels and breathing in the fresh air can give you a different, uplifting perspective.
Wellbeing expert and co-founder of Goodrays, Eoin Keenan, said: “Simply being in nature will provide you with a change of scenery that will help your mind and body unwind. Although often overlooked, physical activity is one of the cheapest and most effective approaches to mental health improvement.”
Green spaces can help with loneliness, a feeling that most of us can be prone to, regardless of age or stage of life. Green spaces, especially parks, offer great opportunities for individuals to venture outside and gather with friends and family for leisure, social activities, and recreational purposes such as playing football or picnicking.
“Interacting with others and having a supportive social network not only has a significant effect on overcoming mental health issues such as anxiety, but it also plays a key factor in reducing stress,” Eoin commented.
Encourages rest and relaxation
Regular exposure to green spaces can have physiologically healing effects on the body. This recent study shows that being surrounded by these settings and walking through them can promote lower cortisol levels and decreased heart rate and blood pressure.
Other key benefits include:
- Improved living environments
- Mental restoration
- Improved physical health
The articles we publish on Psychreg are here to educate and inform. They’re not meant to take the place of expert advice. So if you’re looking for professional help, don’t delay or ignore it because of what you’ve read here. Check our full disclaimer.