The best way to beat stress, according to new research, is to get a group together and take a walk.
[contextly_auto_sidebar id="CrdkGNJOD17I5cN5quC045DJYir939Hj"]The large-scale study was a joint effort by researchers at the University of Michigan, De Montfort University, Edge Hill University and the James Hutton Institute. They studied just under 2,000 Walking for Health program participants and discovered that these group nature walks had a myriad of mental health benefits: less perceived stress, lower depression and improved well-being.
Researchers saw the biggest mental health improvements in people who recently endured a significant stress-inducing life event, such as a loved one's death, divorce, a serious illness or unemployment.
"Walking is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilized stress buster," said senior author Sara Warber, M.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School. "Our findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone's daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression."