It’s National Walking Month, and what better time of year to get outside and experience the benefits of walking.

It’s so simple, but SO beneficial.

Wherever you live and whatever kind of walking you have available to you, here’s what you can expect to get from it.

#1 Less mental fatigue

Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that being exposed to restorative environments (basically anywhere nice in nature!) restores mental energy - helping us get rid of those feelings of stress, overwhelm, and modern life. Short-term memory also improves after spending time outdoors. Walk mindfully, focusing on your surroundings and actively trying to enjoy it - walking is not a chore, it’s a treat.

#2 Increased creativity 

If you need to get fresh ideas for work, or find a new perspective on a problem - go for a walk. Environmental psychologists at the University of Michigan discovered that looking at natural wonders allowed the brain to recuperate, recover and rest - and get a fresh approach to problems.

#3 Feel happier

Isn’t this what we all want? Walking can bring back happy memories (childhood walks are often our earliest memories). There’s a clear link between walking outdoors and decreased anxiety. In fact, The Journal of Affective Disorders says that any green, natural environment has the power to improve mood and self-esteem.

#4 Exercise and heart health 

It might “just” be walking, but it really is good for you - don’t discount it because it’s not hardcore exercise! And your body and brain get extra benefits from exercising outside in nature. Walking is great for calorie burning, blood pressure, heart health, muscle toning - and it doesn’t feel like exercise!

#5 Less stress

Just being outside, walking, breathing, and taking time for yourself does wonders for stress levels. And when you have a handle on your stress, you are more likely to sleep better, eat better, crave less junk… you get the idea.