10 Benefits of Walking in Nature

Jul 21, 2023 Lifestyle TipsMood 6 MIN

10 Benefits of Walking in Nature

Quick Health Scoop:

  • Walking in nature has benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Nature makes exercise more enjoyable, can help you meet recommended weekly activity goals, and helps supports a healthy heart.
  • Walking in nature can help reduce stress and improve mood, providing a positive way to manage the challenges of modern life.
  • Time spent in nature can lead to improved overall well-being and better sleep, while also increasing creativity, boosting concentration, and improving attention span.

As technology progresses, many of us are increasingly disconnected from nature, particularly if we live in urban environments. Many of us spend a large portion of our days staring at screens, commuting in traffic, and feeling generally overwhelmed by all the demands of modern life.

One very simple way to balance out all that screen time and time spent indoors can be to spend more time in nature. The natural world has a calming effect on the mind and body of even the most frazzled among us.

10 Benefits of Walking in Nature

Just a simple walk in nature has been shown to have restorative effects on our mental and physical well-being.[1]  Here are some additional benefits of taking a little time for an outdoor stroll.

1.   Improves physical fitness.

Finding an exercise routine that we enjoy, can do consistently, and that helps meet our activity goals can feel challenging. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity.[2]

Walking in nature is a great way to make these minutes feel more enjoyable. When you are in a beautiful, natural setting, a walk seems a lot less like “exercise” and more like an fun hobby that you want to do again. Regular nature walks can help you effortlessly get in the exercise you need.

Learn More: Answer the Call to Exercise!

2.   Supports a healthy heart.

Cardiovascular activity, like walking, can help support heart health, and walking in nature may have an additional benefit. A 2015 study found that walking past green spaces in an urban environment significantly reduced heart rate when compared to walking past similar but vacant lots.[3]

Walking provides a double benefit for the heart. First, it helps us get the cardio-based exercise we need for heart health. Second, the calming effect of nature can also help support healthy blood pressure. It is estimated that just spending 30 minutes per week in nature can lower the risk of high blood pressure by 9%.[4] Imagine the impact on your heart if you spent 30 minutes in nature every day.

3.   Helps reduce stress.

Modern life can be quite stressful. Time in nature can help us manage stress in a more positive way. A 2018 study found that just 15 minutes per day in nature helped young adults significantly decrease stress and negative feelings while increasing positive feelings.[5]

If you are having a stressful day, consider stepping outside or stopping by a park on your way home. Just spending even a short amount of time in nature can help put the day’s stressors into perspective.

Learn More: Stress Management Activities: 14 Tips for Stress Relief

4.   Supports healthy cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a hormone that helps us wake up and feel alert in the morning. But when we are, it can remain elevated throughout the day, leading to difficulty sleeping, irritability, digestive problems, and more.[11] Maintaining balanced cortisol levels is essential for both physical and mental well-being.

A 2019 study evaluated the impact of time in nature on cortisol levels and alpha-amylase, two markers of stress. The participants were asked to spend time in nature 3 times per week or more for at least 10 minutes. For cortisol, there was a significant reduction in cortisol after 20-30 minutes in nature and a 21.3% drop in levels after being in nature 1 hour. Similar improvements were also seen in alpha-amylase.[6]

5.   Improves mood.

Spending time in nature can help improve your mood, feelings of happiness, and overall contentment. A meta-analysis based on the data from over 8,500 people found that those who reported a regular connection with nature tended to also report more life satisfaction and positive mood when compared to those who did not have a regular connection.[7] If you would like to uplift your mood, consider taking a walk in nature a few times a week.

Learn More: Ways to Support a Healthy Mood

6.   Increases creativity.

There is so much noise in our daily lives, it can be easy to feel distracted and disconnected. But moments of creative thought require focus and silence.

In nature, you have an opportunity to disconnect from smartphones and overstimulation. It’s just you and the natural world. Carving out the time for a short walk in nature in the middle of a busy day can help you clear out mental space  to tackle your daily tasks in a more creative way.

7.   Boosts concentration and attention span.

Interaction with nature has been found to have cognitive benefits, such as helping improve concentration. A systematic review of the connection between the natural world and cognitive performance found that just seeing green spaces can improve attention, overall cognitive development, working memory, and reduce attention deficits.[8]

8.   Healthier sleep.

Have you ever spent the day outdoors and later had the best sleep of your life? Research backs up this experience. A 2015 study found that older adults who have access to natural surroundings, report better sleep. Participants who reported the worst sleep over the last month were those with less access to green space.[9]

If you occasionally desire more restful sleep, a nature walk paired with sleep support supplements like our Wellblends™ Sleep & Recover™ Gummies, might help you get the rest you need.†

9.   Immunity benefits.

A 2015 analysis evaluated hundreds of studies on the impact of nature and health. Researchers found that just 30 minutes of forest walking resulted in a significant increase in white blood cells, important for immune function.[10]

Spending time walking in nature can help support immune health through a variety of pathways. Better sleep, stress reduction, and physical exercise may all play a role in supporting immune health.

10.  Improves overall well-being.

Walking or other physical activity outdoors has been associated with multiple improvements in mood, health, happiness, and a greater sense of connection with the world around us. This is true even in urban environments, such as a local park, or in a more rural setting. Just being in nature can improve your well-being in a myriad of ways.

If you want to tap into the health benefits of nature, the important thing is to get outside regularly in green spaces, even for just 15-30 minutes per day. If you live in a city, look for local green spaces nearby or drive to a local hiking trail on weekends or after work. Prioritizing your connection with nature by walking can have a widespread effect on multiple other aspects of your health and wellness.

Learn more about wellness:

Follow @NatureMadeVitamins on Instagram for new product news, healthy tips, and more.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. Roe, J., & Aspinall, P. (2011). The restorative benefits of walking in urban and rural settings in adults with good and poor mental health. Health & Place, 17(1), 103–113.
  2. CDC. (2023, March 23). How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
  3. South, E. C., Kondo, M. C., Cheney, R. A., & Branas, C. C. (2015). Neighborhood blight, stress, and health: a walking trial of urban greening and ambulatory heart rate. American Journal of Public Health, 105(5), 909–913.
  4. Shanahan, D. F., Bush, R., Gaston, K. J., Lin, B. B., Dean, J., Barber, E., & Fuller, R. A. (2016). Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose. Scientific Reports, 6, 28551.
  5. Bielinis, E., Takayama, N., Boiko, S., Omelan, A., & Bielinis, L. (2018). The effect of winter forest bathing on psychological relaxation of young Polish adults. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 29, 276–283.
  6. Hunter, M. R., Gillespie, B. W., & Chen, S. Y.-P. (2019). Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 722.
  7. Capaldi, C. A., Dopko, R. L., & Zelenski, J. M. (2014). The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 976.
  8. Schertz, K. E., & Berman, M. G. (2019). Understanding Nature and Its Cognitive Benefits. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28(5), 496–502.
  9. Grigsby-Toussaint, D. S., Turi, K. N., Krupa, M., Williams, N. J., Pandi-Perumal, S. R., & Jean-Louis, G. (2015). Sleep insufficiency and the natural environment: Results from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Preventive Medicine, 78, 78–84.
  10. Kuo, M. (2015). How might contact with nature promote human health? Promising mechanisms and a possible central pathway. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1093.
  11. Cay M, Ucar C, Senol D, et al. Effect of increase in cortisol level due to stress in healthy young individuals on dynamic and static balance scores. North Clin Istanb. 2018;5(4):295-301. Published 2018 May 29. doi:10.14744/nci.2017.42103


Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

NatureMade Contributor

Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD has over a decade of experience as a registered dietitian and freelance writer. She has a passion for creating incredible health and nutrition content. She is the author of three books, as well as dozens of articles on food and wellness. Find her at www.anareisdorf.com

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Kalyn Williams, RDN

Science and Health Educator

Kalyn is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and a Science & Health Educator with the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. Her experience in the field of nutrition prior to joining Pharmavite has included community and public health education, media dietetics, and clinical practice in the areas of disordered eating, diabetes, women’s health, and general wellness. Kalyn received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona, and completed her dietetic supervised practice in Maricopa County, AZ, with an emphasis on public health. Kalyn is certified in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, where she is an active member in addition to memberships in Dietitians in Functional Medicine, Women’s Health Dietitians, and the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians.

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