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Autumn trees path

Wellbeing: Walking and nature

10 October 2018

Walking and spending time in the natural environment have both been cited as ways of promoting all sorts of positive health outcomes from easing pain, to reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting healing and a sense of wellbeing. Such is the mounting evidence that the NHS is working with healthcare professionals and organisations to ‘make green spaces available for health purposes’ under the banner NHS Forests.

According to research patient recovery rates improve even if they can only view trees from their hospital window. On a personal level, many of us will be well aware of the uplifting experience of spending time in the countryside, a local park and even the garden. We hope to transport you from your living room into the heart of the countryside with a selection of audio books with richly described scenery and wildlife for you to enjoy (see below).

Another, more drastic, outdoor pursuit associated with increasing feelings of wellbeing is cold water swimming. A recent BBC documentary, The Doctor Who Gave up Drugs, describes how a young woman with chronic depression was able to come off her medication four months after it was suggested that she go cold water swimming once a week. There is also some evidence that immersion in cold water can stimulate an anti-inflammatory response in the body which could mean it has other benefits. Research is ongoing so it could mean another reason to bring back our neglected tradition of swimming in lidos. Meanwhile you can read about Roger Deakin’s quest to swim through the British Isles in the sea, rivers, lakes, dykes, quarries and even canals, as described in Waterlog (8950), in the comfort of your armchair.

Here is a selection of books from our wide range of books on walking, nature and the countryside:

Birds for the Blind by John Snape 12150

The January Man: A Year of Walking Britain by Christopher Somerville 11860

Pathlands: 21 Tranquil Walks among the Villages of Britain by Peter Owen Jones 10710

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson 5032

Walking Home by Simon Armitage 9478

Common Ground by Rob Cowen 11125

Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel 10452

Wild Hares and Hummingbirds by Stephen Moss 9364

A Handfull of Earth: A Year of Healing and Growing by Barney Bardsley 10871

My Life on a Hillside Allotment by Terry Walton 12581