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  • Writer's pictureLyndsay Boysen

It's Time for a Nature Walk!

My kids have so many fond memories of “Nature Walk” at their elementary school. We are blessed to live in an area that is surrounded by forest and conservation land but also 20 minutes from the beach. I love that many of the teachers here make nature an important part of their curriculum. Most often the teachers simply take the students into the nearby woods to look at the tree bark, mushrooms, leaves, footprints, birds…you name it, they look for it. Sometimes it ties back to a lesson at school and sometimes it is simply “just because”. The students just walk and quietly observe. Whether the teacher is aware or not, they are planting a seed (pun intended) that encourages children to love and appreciate nature. I always loved hearing the stories when the kids came home…their sudden tree and leaf knowledge was impressive (thank you teachers!) but the kids always used such beautiful, descriptive words about how they felt as they experienced nature.

Peaceful, Green, Calming, Fun

Once my classes were done for the semester, I set a summer wellness goal to walk in nature, everyday….weather permitting of course! I try to find a trail or green space that provides me with the opportunity for a view, some shade, or really good wildlife to experience but sometimes it is simply a walk down the street of my neighborhood. I try to emulate the experiences that my kids have in their “ classroom nature walk” and use the time to breathe (the lilacs are in bloom right now), look at the shapes of the clouds, listen to the birds and chipmunks chirp, or watch the leaves rustle. The best part is finding a hidden gem that allows you to pause a moment, appreciate its beauty or a memory that might spark and then move on. I came across not just one but two Lady Slippers the other day on my walk and they have always held a pretty special place in my heart. Had I been distracted, I might have walked past them but there they were, waiting for me to see and appreciate all their beauty.

Although walking in nature is a pretty effective way to also get your steps in, simply basking in the sun (Vitamin D Baby!) or grounding yourself by getting those bare feet in the grass and sand provide the same energizing health benefits. Summer time is the perfect time to establish a lesson plan for wellness in nature and depending on where you are reading this from, we all have a different landscape at our fingertips to enjoy. Take advantage of the mental, physical and spiritual benefits by making a plan for a nature walk.

5 Wellness Benefits of Nature

  1. The simple act of walking in nature can lower your stress level, clear your mind, and boost your mood. (mental wellness)

  2. Nature provides an opportunity to observe and appreciate something that is bigger than oneself. This inspires gratitude and the opportunity for quiet self reflection. (spiritual wellness)

  3. Walking increases your cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bone and muscle, aids in weight management, lowers your risk for heart disease & Type II Diabetes & my personal favorite, lowers your risk of developing certain cancers. (physical wellness)

  4. Walking in the community of others allows us to socialize and share experiences with friends and family. This nurtures our happiness and longevity. (joy & connection)

  5. Nature can spark creativity and new ideas! (inspiration & motivation)

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