As the days grow longer and warmer, many of us are itching to get outdoors and explore nature. But did you know that taking the time to go hiking can actually bring a plethora of health benefits, both mental and physical? Recent studies have revealed that spending time in nature can help improve cognitive function, boost our mood, regulate emotions, and even increase immunity. So it’s no surprise that doctors are encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. But what exactly do they say about how disconnecting from technology while hiking can actually change our brains? Let’s take a closer look.
When we go on a hike, our brains release endorphins — these are essential feel-good hormones that can help decrease pain and improve our overall mood. Endorphins act as natural painkillers, so when we’re out in nature and disconnected from technology, we’re not only able to clear our minds but also reduce stress levels. Dr. David D. Burns, a professor at Stanford University, explains, “Hiking helps us to find balance and clarity in our lives. It offers a respite from the stress and distractions of modern life and can help improve creative problem-solving.” Additionally, being in nature can help improve cognitive function. Research has shown  that it can help us focus better, boost creativity, and sharpen concentration.
The best view comes after the hardest climb.
Before you jump into this article… Just a heads up, the opinions expressed on this site are solely those of yours truly and should not be taken as medical advice. I’m just a regular person sharing my experiences and insights, so don’t sue me, okay? And hey, if you decide to buy something I mention through one of my affiliate links, I’ll make a few pennies to keep the lights on. But seriously, always consult with a doctor before starting any new health regimen. Stay healthy, stay happy!– Unknown
Disconnecting From Technology Can Boost Creative Problem Solving
Psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer conducted a study that discovered how disconnecting from technology and immersing oneself in nature can improve creative problem-solving abilities. The study involved participants taking a four-day backpacking trip without any technology, during which they were tested on their ability to solve problems before and after the excursion.
Surprisingly, those who participated showed an impressive 50% improvement on problem-solving tasks compared to when they began the journey. It is theorized that the constant demands of modern life such as emails, text messages, phone calls etc., combined with urban noise can cause mental fatigue; being surrounded by nature reduces this fatigue and allows for sharper creative thinking.
Studies show that taking a break from technology even for just a few days can have significant beneficial effects on our cognitive abilities. This could be because it allows us to disconnect and focus more on our environment and the task at hand, rather than being distracted by digital devices or other technological inputs.
Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.– Christian Lous Lange
It also increases the amount of time we spend engaging with nature and participating in physical activities, both of which are important for mental well-being. Additionally, spending time outdoors has been linked to an increase in creative problem-solving skills as activity in certain brain regions associated with creativity is increased when exposed to natural environments.
Therefore, taking some time away from technology every now and then can help boost your creative problem-solving ability!
Hiking and Getting Outdoors Shows Improvement in Kids with ADHD
The research conducted by Frances E Kup, PhD and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD found that exposing children with ADHD to “green outdoor activities” such as nature hikes or walks can significantly reduce symptoms. Spending time in natural settings has been linked to increased focus, improved impulse control, better moods and a general sense of calmness.
In addition to reducing the symptoms of ADHD, disconnecting from technology while hiking can also boost creative problem-solving abilities. Being immersed in nature allows people to tap into their creativity and come up with innovative solutions they may not have thought of before. This could be due to the fact that being outdoors away from screens helps people enter a flow state more easily where their minds are free to explore different ideas without distraction.
Why You Should Take Up Hiking
You should take up hiking for a multitude of reasons: it can help relieve stress, improve sleep quality, regulate emotions, and even boost immunity. Dr. Jessica J. Kandel, a psychologist at Columbia University, explains, “Time spent in nature can be incredibly calming and even help to boost the immune system.” Moreover, it doesn’t need to be a time-consuming activity — any amount of time spent outdoors can bring positive results. Even a short 30-minute walk in nature can provide some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
To get started on a hiking routine, consider finding a local trail or park where you can explore the great outdoors. Make sure to plan ahead and bring the necessary supplies like water, snacks, and sunscreen. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings — if you’re hiking alone, make sure to let someone know where you’ll be and when to expect you back.
In conclusion, doctors agree that hiking while disconnected from technology can have profound effects on our mental and physical health. Regular hikes can help reduce stress levels, increase endorphins, improve cognitive function, and boost creative problem-solving. Dr. Ronald E. Hays, a professor at UCLA, states, “Hiking is one of the best activities for improving both mental and physical health. It can help to reduce stress, improve sleep, and even boost immunity.”
We should all take the time to get outside and enjoy nature!
So why not make it a priority this week to get out and start exploring the great outdoors for improved mental and physical health?