Nature Therapy: Good For What Ails You
Phil’s Advice For Keeping It Together
A Different Kind of Beer Run
We hosted our third anniversary party this past weekend. That meant lots of planning, setting up, tearing down and lots of other work behind the scenes to ensure the party went smoothly. After spending close to 24 hours at the brewery over the weekend, I found myself tired, unmotivated and lacking focus when Monday morning rolled around.
Running On Empty
So, I headed to my favorite state park to run some of my favorite trails today. I’ve been running for over 15 years and competed in races of all distances so I am very familiar with the health benefits of running. Lots of research has been conducted on exercise and its effect on the brain and body. Increased energy levels, a boost in metabolism, cardiovascular health, increased sleep, etc. However, more recently I heard a story on NPR about “nature therapy” or the interaction of humans and nature and the added health benefits of simply being in a natural environment.
Baby, We Were Born To Run
I have long thought there was something very primitive, raw, and exciting about running through the woods. Prior to hearing this report, though, I was unable to exactly understand the why and how.
For me, a trail run (especially on an isolated trail) is truly beautiful and totally serene. It almost seems counterintuitive that I am both able to summon an almost hyper-intense focus, yet my mind seems to be wonderfully clear at the same time. This ability to focus has allowed me to create numerous detailed grocery lists and write beer recipes in my mind while running (and most importantly, actually remembering them). On the other hand, the clarity that comes with simply letting your mind wander to the rhythm of footsteps is fantastic.
Clear Mind. Full Heart. Can’t Lose.
After a 60-minute run I was drenched, tired, somewhat mosquito bitten, but I had a great sense of calm and mental clarity that allowed me to totally forget the chaos of the weekend. It left me motivated, focused, and energized to tackle the week ahead.
Feeling Tapped? Take A Hike! Or A Run. Or A Walk.
Researchers have found that even a simple 15-minute walk in a park or other “non-urban” setting lead to reports of decreased anxiety, increased focus, and reduced depression. Some research even shows an increased performance in cognitive tests after longer walks. Based on my trail running experience, I can’t disagree with these findings.
Zum Wohl! (To Your Health!)
While I realize that on the surface this post has little to do with beer or our brewery, it has everything to do with the health of the people who are lucky enough to run it. I urge you to give nature therapy a try. No need to run – just put your phone down and find some quiet green space to explore. See you out on the trails!