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Magic of Walking in the Woods

The Life Changing Magic of Walking in the Woods by The Mersey Forest

Is modern life getting you down? Anxiety and depression are on the up, stress has been named the number one hazard in the workplace and we’re all suffering from information overload as we battle with staying on top of emails and social media. Addicted to our screens, we’re not getting enough daylight or physical activity.

But there’s a simple, scientifically backed solution. Get outside. In the trees!

The Japanese have known for a long time that being in nature, in the forest, can lower your blood pressure, fight off depression and battle stress. There’s increasing acceptance in the West too that humans are hard-wired to need connection with nature – so called ‘biophilia’ – and we’ll be better, healthier humans if we get our dose of the green stuff.

So, what could a walk in the woods this month do for your brain?

Boost Wellbeing

One study found that walking in natural environments boosts well-being by reducing obsessive, negative thoughts. Physical activity like a brisk walk stimulates the release of body chemicals called endorphins, which act as natural pain killers, reduce stress and produce feelings of wellbeing.

Fight stress and depression

Leisurely forest walks, compared with urban walks, yield a 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a seven percent decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4 percent decrease in blood pressure, and a 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed.

Live Longer

Our government’s health experts NICE recognise that walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes. So why aren’t more GPs prescribing a walk in the woods?

Best of all you don’t need membership. There’s no contract to sign or induction to complete.

Are you ready to experience the life changing magic of walking in the woods? For more information visit

Get involved with Nature4Health

Nature4Health is a three year programme that uses the power of nature to boost your wellbeing. Funded by The Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Programme, it’s about providing health-promoting, enjoyable group activities in a green, therapeutic environment.

Activities on offer include woodland walks, therapeutic gardening and practical conservation sessions to get the heart pumping, as well as the meditation technique of mindfulness in a natural setting. Sessions are targeted at both adults and children and designed to be welcoming to complete beginners. For more information visit:


Written by Gather

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