Why you need a walk through nature


Charles Doehring

While on a walk in Fullersburg Woods trail, I encountered Groundmill waterfall.

I clench the cool metal door handle as I close it shut and I’m off. The brisk air purified by a cleansing spring rain floods over my face like a welcome waterfall. I breathe in deep and smell the scent of the earth rousing itself from under the snow. 

I start walking, to the end of my driveway, then the end of my street and before I know it I’m face to face with the woods of Fullersberg forest preserve. As I walk along my route a menagerie of other walkers pass by me, some alone, some in pairs, some running, others embracing the glacial pace of a refreshing afternoon stroll. 

Although it may seem mundane, walking is, “the closest thing we have for a wonder drug,” said Dr. Thomas Freidman, former director of the CDC, according to Harvard University. 

Walking offers a range of health and social benefits which can be just the trip to a long life and brightening up your day. And it can be the perfect antidote to the crush of tests, projects, AP exams and finals. Accessible and easy to do, walking allows you to take advantage of the warm weather and take a window of solitude as the curtain draws to a close for the 2022-2023 school year. 

“Walking for even half an hour outside improves cardiovascular health, boosts the immune system, increases energy levels and provides vitamin D,” said Sean Kasak, health and lifeguard instructor at Hinsdale Central High School. “Walking outside often involves navigating different terrains, which can help build strength and balance as well as reduce boredom and monotony.”

Moreover, walking has a plethora of social and mental benefits.

“Walking in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety levels by providing a calming and peaceful environment. It also enhances mental clarity and focus by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing mental fatigue. Walking also improves sleep quality, increases overall sense of well-being and provides more opportunities for social connection,” Kasak said. 

Also, walking can be a welcome break from the grind of school work as students enter the home stretch of the school year. 

“It feels like there is a test or something every week,” said Sakeena Ahmed, sophomore. “Some weeks I can’t catch a break.”

Additionally, walking is an accessible thing to do that’s free and available about everywhere as spring comes into full swing and the warm weather looks like it’s here to stay. 

“I’m excited to be getting outside and getting some fresh air,” said Katherine Choe, sophomore. 

Overall, step outside, and put one foot in front of the other because you never know the benefits until you try it.