Meta: Health benefits that come with being in nature. Why going on safari is essential to your health and wellness. The immense health benefits we reap from spending time with nature
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- Kenya wildlife and nature safari
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- Trip to Kenya
While it might sound too simple to be true, a nature safari can trigger a host of health benefits.
However, a substantial portion of our waking day is spent either indoors, in traffic, or in front of a computer screen.
In recent years, a vast majority have embraced being cooped up indoors as the unwavering price they must pay in the pursuit for a better life.
Ironically, that pursuit of greener pastures has also seen most people confined to the concrete jungles of cities, with little to no green spaces, and loads of pollution.
In the fullness of time, that set up takes a heavy toll on our health and wellness. We sometimes fall prey to lifestyle diseases that have little to do with external causes and more to do with our daily habits.
Experts have established that communing with nature can reverse most of these adverse health conditions and help us enjoy a longer, happier life. A nature safari and beach holiday could be as simple as a hike in a green space, a walk on the beach, a swim in the ocean, or a fully-fledged Kenya wildlife and nature safari!
Figure 1 Nature safari could be a wildlife or even a beach tour
Here are some of the wholesome benefits you get from communing with nature.
According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in such places such as parks, water bodies and forests has a significant impact on a person’s psychological wellbeing.
It improves our mental acuity, lowers stress, boosts our cognitive abilities and heightens feelings of happiness.
Time spent in nature helps in lowering the likelihood of developing some psychiatric disorders and aids in psychological restoration.
On a trip to Kenya for a difficult business meeting, the lodge we had been booked at was adjacent to one of the best game reserves- the famous Maasai Mara game reserve. Although I had never been on a Kenya wildlife and nature safari, I knew that the park was replete with various kinds of flora and fauna.
I was also aware that its beasts were roaming free in the wild and that numerous international visitors made a point of taking a trip to Kenya just to see them.
Since our negotiations seemed not to be yielding any fruit, we had to take a break. On a whim, I opted to try out the hotel’s offer for a brief guided walking safari.
I was indeed given a seasoned guide who took me around the reserve. For two hours, we did nothing else but listen to the sounds of birds, the gentle drifting wind and grunts from some animals as they went past.
Upon return to the seemingly difficult meeting, not only did I feel mentally renewed, but some of the hitherto arduous issues now felt manageable and effortless.
Nature is also a healing balm that lowers your muscle tension, anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure (for those with a history of hypertension).
Not only does the vitamin D absorbed during your walk in the sun improve your bone health and prevent osteoporosis, studies have also shown that it helps in forestalling cancer.
Frequent exposure to natural light has in some cases served as an antidote to pain, and patients have been reported to have lowered reliance on pain medication as a result.
Some of the best game reserves in Africa make a conscious effort to combine your safari with healing practices such as meditation, yoga, and body reactivation.
In other words, your Kenya wildlife tour goes past the visual appeal of seeing animals in the wild.
As would be expected, nature walks, hikes and runs lead to weight loss and a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) when done consistently.
A review published in the American National Library of Medicine shows that physical activities done in an outdoor setting surrounded by nature yield better results than the same activity done indoors.
Participants torch a greater number of calories when working out outside as the body has to contend with variations in the terrain, wind resistance, and other elements.
Imagine, if you will, running on a stationary treadmill staring at the same wall for an hour.
Now imagine the same hour (or two) spent running in the wilds at the Lewa Downs Conservancy in Laikipia Kenya, with other runners and the wildlife for company.
Figure 2 Lewa Conservancy, in Laikipia, Kenya hosts one of the most phenomenal marathons globally
The latter scenario has zebras, gazelles, rhinos, buffaloes, even lions scattered in the vast grasslands. It is a rejuvenating experience like no other.
Time spent in nature tends to have a domino effect on various aspects of our wellbeing.
For instance, by aiding in stress reduction, it also means lesser stress related illnesses, aches or pains, and by extension, graceful aging.
Your time outdoors also impacts the quality of sleep you get and the restoration of your cells during sleep.
On the whole, middle-aged and older people who frequent the outdoors are reported to have better bones and a more positive outlook towards life.
Besides increasing your energy levels, nature safaris and spending time in green spaces has a positive impact on immunity.
According to experts, the restrictions necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic meant people could hardly go outside. That led to an upsurge in mental health issues around the globe.
One of the best ways to counteract these effects now that borders are open once more, is to go on a nature safari for your next holiday. Kenya wildlife tours and other African safaris are excellent choices for those going on vacation.
However, besides these excursions, daily exposure to green spaces and environments is also vital.
The Japanese call this practice Shinrin Yoku and studies show that it leads to an increased generation of white blood cells thus boosting your immunity.
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