The Aesthetics of Walking

A-walk-to-paradise-garden-phil-hilton

Walking Has Very Large Health Benefits

Walking is good for you. It’s the most common form of physical activity in the world, and the most popular way for people to meet the physical activity requirements for good health. It improves most cardio vascular markers, and has positive affects on your mood. In fact, the effects of walking are greatest when your mood is the worst.

Walking is often the first tool of choice for professionals working with the elderly. Whether it’s lifting them out of depression, treating a chronic ailment, or helping them recover from severe medical treatments, it’s the closest thing there is to a silver bullet.

What Makes People Walk More?

So a lot of studies have been done on what makes people walk more or less, and over the years it’s become an accepted fact that aesthetics matter. Most studies suggest trees, flowers, and other pretty things increase the desire to walk and elevate its mood-enhancing effects.

In particular, walking in gardens seems to put the effects of walking in hypergear. A study published in Research in Gerontological Nursing found that among a group of several dozen depressed elderly couples, every single one exhibited lower levels of depression after garden walking for a few weeks. And no one was classified as severely depressed after the treatment.

My favorite example of aesthetics and walking comes from a paper written about Japanese hospitals. In Japan, it was discovered that putting an artificial forest on Hospital rooftops had significant effects on the mood of older women when they were allowed to walk through it for 5 minutes everyday. Rooftop gardens are becoming

 

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