Mood Walks Benefits

The Importance of Walking Groups in Mental Health Services

The Benefits of Being Outdoors

As we become more reliant on technology and spend less time outdoors, our society has become increasingly removed from the natural world. Some experts argue that we have an innate biological need for connecting with nature, and evidence shows that simply being in nature has benefits for mental health, such as decreased stress, improved concentration, and enhanced mood.

Ecotherapy, an emerging field, promotes therapeutic methods, benefiting both human and environmental health. By acknowledging nature’s positive impact on us, it suggests a reciprocal relationship, fostering increased awareness and concern for the natural world.

“I lost some weight, saw some new places, and had fun with friends. I feel better about things. I can do things that I thought I couldn’t.”

Mood Walks Participant

Time Spent in Nature Can:

Regulate Your
Internal Clock

Sitting in a forest for 15 minutes can reduce cortisol levels and heart rate while sitting on an urban street will have no effect.1

Stop Racing


Walking in a green space for 90 minutes, instead of on a busy street, can lead to fewer repetitive, racing thoughts.[[Bratman 2015]]


Community Ties

Spending time in neighbourhood green spaces can help individuals feel more connected to their community.[[Bratman 2015]]

Improve Your Physical Health

Regular physical activity is important for maintaining physical health and psychological well-being. It’s particularly important for those at risk of Serious Mental Illness (SMI), as physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, alleviate stress, enhance mood and self-esteem, and improve energy levels.

However, individuals at risk of SMI often face barriers to engagement, such as limited income, lack of transportation, and fear of stigma. These factors can hinder participation in mainstream exercise programs.

As community mental health services focus on recovery, integrating activities like walking groups becomes an important part of support.

Spending Time in Nature Reduces the Risk of:

High Blood Pressure

People who sat, walked, and relaxed in the forest for four hours dropped their blood pressure by over 10 points.[[Donovan 2013]]

Lung Disease

People who live around more trees have a lower risk of illness and death from pneumonia and bronchitis.[[Donovan 2013]]

Social Benefits of Walking in Groups

Walking groups provide people with the opportunity to spend time in their community, while feeling supported in exploring their environment. Groups allow participants to develop communications skills, expand social ties, and become more comfortable in social settings.

Benefits for Children and Youth

1 extra day

in a park per week steadily increases a child’s resilience against stress.[[Razani 2019]]

Studies also show:

When trees and plants are visible from classroom windows, students have higher standardized test scores and graduation rates.[[Matsuoka 2010]]

Children who play in a greened school ground are more cooperative, communicate better and have a decrease in aggressive behaviour.[[Dyment 2005]]

Ready to start walking?

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