7 Shockingly True Health Benefits of Taking Time Out in The Country

We all know how relaxing it is to go for a gentle hike in the woods, but did you know that this simple activity has been scientifically proven to improve your health and well-being?

Seriously, folks, I’m not suggesting just taking a walk in the local park – no, that won’t do. You see, what you need is to immerse yourself in a bush environment, devoid of the regular sights and sounds of suburban living. Why? Well, it’s therapy or “Shinrin-yoku”, to be precise.

“Shinrin – what-who?” I hear you thinking. Well, in November 2015, Amy Molloy wrote an article for the Courier Mail’s Health lift out titled: “Forest Therapy: The Healing Power of Time in the Wilderness”.  The message resonated strongly with me, as our guests are constantly talking about how the most surprising side effect of their brief time away was an intense feeling of well-being … so much so that they literally did not want to leave.

Why did their getaway create such intense emotion? Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is something so simple, we fail to see it.

Eastern cultures have always looked to nature to provide remedies for all types of ailments. It should have come as no surprise that in Japan they respect time out with nature so much that it is prescribed as therapy. It even has a special name – “Shinrin-yoku”.

Loosely translated, this equates to “Forest Bathing” and the benefits that nature provides are far greater than perhaps you ever imagined.

Here are 7 restorative reasons to encourage you to reach out for your next nature getaway.

A NATURE ESCAPE (AKA forest bathing) HELPS TO:

  1. ENHANCE YOUR MOOD– Time spent in nature, without the distractions of sights, sounds, and smells of suburbia, is proven to restore your emotional balance. The world we live in is increasingly chaotic and taking time to walk purposely through the bush is incredibly soothing and helps return our bodies to a natural state of relaxation.
  2. LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE– A study carried out in Japan in 2010 at Chiba University found not only did spending time in nature reduce blood pressure levels, it reduced cortisol levels and stimulated the nervous system to slow the heart rate, thereby aiding intestinal activity. In addition to this, the Vorarlberg Institute in Austria, which specialises in vascular treatments, recommends a combination of uphill and downhill trekking to lower cholesterol.
  3. INCREASE YOUR WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNT – This is great news for those who have compromised blood cell counts, especially after surgery or chemotherapy. Nippon Medical School conducted studies, showing that patients who participated in forest therapy increased their white blood cell count, thereby enhancing the body’s ability to repair itself.
  4. DIGITALLY DETOX – We all know how beneficial this is, with recent studies claiming an alarming rise in the amount of screen time we are exposing ourselves to daily. A break from digital technologies is good news for your eye health and gives your nervous system a break from our demanding devices.
  5. INHALE CLEAN AIR– When guests arrive at Diamondvale, one of the first things they notice is the smell of our environment. “What is that amazing smell?” they ask, and my response is “that, my friends, is fresh air”. Taking a break in a natural environment means fewer vehicles, more trees and therefore, less carbon monoxide.  As you take a deep breath in and out, your body starts to unwind, and your mind has a chance to focus on the present moment, releasing anxieties and appreciating the way the natural environment appeals to all senses.
  6. IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS – Well, this one speaks for itself! You are out exercising, breathing in clean air and stretching out your limbs. Perhaps something you didn’t know was that walking on a bush track, with potentially uneven ground, helps to strengthen your core.
  7. TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF– It’s easy to get lost in the demands of caring for others, your family or your job. Taking a well-deserved nature break is something you can do for yourself.

So, what are you waiting for? The Granite Belt Region is famous for its National Parks, where you can walk to your heart’s content. You can even take a gorgeous stroll past the waterworn boulders of Quart Pot Creek from your cottage at Diamondvale, if you don’t want to stray too far.

Perhaps you prefer a guided walk? Wildflower walks happen frequently in the summer in our region, where you can have a guided tour of the bush and take time to stop and smell the wildflowers.

Not up to walking just yet? The Granite Belt Bicycle Hire Company makes this type of sensory experience loads of fun. Guided or self-ride tours are available and bikes can be delivered to your accommodation. Click on this link to check out their website.

Diamondvale’s gorgeous country cottages are the perfect base to have your nature therapy – prescribe some Shinrin-yoku for yourself – you’ll be glad you did.  Check out our availability on our BOOK NOW page.

See you in the country

Michelle Conkas