For any disease, one of the doctor’s appointments is walking in the fresh air. Doctors recommend this during the recovery period, and to raise immunity, and in the midst of the disease, including pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. How relevant are walks and why should you stick to this recommendation?
5 reasons to walk in the fresh air
№ 1. Walking strengthens the immune system.
This is the opinion in Japan– the country where the largest number of centenarians in the world is concentrated. In traditional Japanese medicine, there is a method of shinrin-yoku, or “bathing among the forests”. If you believe him, during a normal walk in the forest, the amount of antitumor substances in the body increases, due to the inhalation of phytoncides by us. Essential oils of trees inhibit the growth and development of pathogenic bacteria. This explains this effect.
In addition, a walk in the forest reduces stress, effectively combats chronic fatigue syndrome, which is characteristic of all residents of large cities. Blood pressure is normalized and the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, is reduced.
№ 2. Walking reduces the risk of depression.
Depressive moods haunt people in the cold season – in autumn and winter. People undergoing osteoarthritis treatment are more susceptible to them than others. Researchers at Stanford University concluded that an hour and a half walk through the woods reduces the activity of the part of the brain that is responsible for negative emotions and depression.
Even if you live far from the forest, you can just walk around the neighborhood. It will also relieve you from depression. In a big city, this is even more relevant, because the inhabitants of a megalopolis are prone to depressive states, according to statistics, by 20-40% more than rural residents.
№ 3. Walking improves memory and helps to concentrate.
So say researchers at the University of Michigan. However, they recommend walking not in the city, but in the forest. This is especially true for children with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder. After being outdoors for a long time, they manage to concentrate better.
№ 4. Sleep improves.
People diagnosed with arthrosis of the knee joint or any other often suffer from insomnia, because they are bothered by pain at night. After a walk, this problem is partially solved. According to statistics, those who spend a lot of time outdoors sleep on average 46 minutes longer than others.
№ 5. Walking improves relationships in the family.
Another useful bonus. Scientists from the University of Illinois came to the conclusion that families where they practice frequent long walks in the fresh air are stronger and more friendly, they have a favorable psychological atmosphere. Therefore, it is very useful for physical and mental health to spend time together on the street, for example, going for a morning jog. If you have osteoarthritis of the hip joint and running is contraindicated for you, replace it with a joint walk at a moderate pace or cycling.
What is useful for fresh air
Ideally, you need to walk in the fresh air in the forest or in the mountains. The city air is poisoned by tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust and industrial emissions. In the forest, you inhale substances with a strong antibacterial effect and recover. What’s going on up in the mountains?
Due to the low pressure in the mountain air, there is less oxygen, so the person who inhales it subconsciously uses the reserve forces of the body. Improves blood circulation, activates the work of the lungs and chest. There is a risk of hypoxia, so it is better not to experiment with this. After walking in the mountains, most of us experience a rise in physical and emotional strength.
How long do you need to walk
You should start with 10 minutes a day, gradually increasing the time to half an hour. Then the duration of the daily walk should reach from one to two hours. There are no restrictions. Some spend up to 6 hours in the fresh air and only benefit from it. The main thing is that the walk brings positive emotions, does not strain and does not overwork.
How to walk properly: some tips
Not everyone has a park or a forest nearby, and there is very little free time. Is it really necessary to give up walking for the sake of work? Start with the way to work: there is certainly an opportunity to cover part of the way on foot. If possible, use the lunch break for walking.
Go to nature as much as possible on weekends and holidays. Plan trips to change the situation and just walk around a new area. It is not necessary to go to expensive resorts: for these purposes, a neighboring town or village with a favorable natural environment is also suitable.
To walk more, get yourself a four-legged friend. Among the “dog lovers” there are many fit and physically developed people, as they have to go out for walks every day.
6 more arguments in favor of daily walks
- During normal walks, there is an active blood circulation, so stagnant phenomena gradually go away. If you have joint problems, the pain will become less pronounced.
- Even if you walk for 10-15 minutes every day, seven days a week, the risk of premature death is reduced by 15%, the risk of cardiovascular diseases – by 35%, and the risk of type 2 diabetes – by 40%.
- People over the age of 60, who make up the main risk group for arthrosis, notice the positive effect of regular walks more than young people.
- Walking in the fresh air improves the functioning of the digestive system and helps burn calories. Since orthopedists recommend losing weight with arthrosis, walking is a very effective method, especially if combined with a diet.
- Vitamin D, which is extremely necessary for the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, is synthesized in our body only under the influence of ultraviolet light – in the open air. Therefore, if you do not walk, its deficit will quickly begin.
- For children, outdoor walks are a good prevention of myopia. The child should often look into the distance and tear himself away from the screens of gadgets as often as possible.
If you are still in doubt whether to go or not to go, put your doubts aside. Get ready and go for a walk, breathe fresh air, try to distract yourself from disturbing thoughts. Walking is useful for people at any age, including in the presence of joint diseases. As a nice bonus, get a boost of energy and a good mood!