Study: Hiking Makes You Happier

British and American scientists have published new research showing that group nature walks help us combat stress while boosting mental well-being.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England’s Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants.

They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of Ecopsychology.

Sara Warber, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and senior author of the study, said that the large sample was a defining factor.

“We observed behaviors of a large group, in which some chose to walk and some chose not to, instead of us telling them what to do,” she said. “After 13 weeks, those who walked at least once a week experienced positive emotions and less stress.”

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