Forest Bathing On The Greenway – Gateways to Green Exercise And Generative Wellbeing.
Like so many residents of this beautiful and untapped part of Ireland, it was with a sense of real pride that we welcomed Waterford Greenways official opening yesterday. Even the Gods smiled as Ireland witnessed one of the most beautiful March days in living memory!
For me perhaps the most important aspect of the Waterford Greenway is what it represents – a symbol of renewal, of new possibility; how this magnificent artery of natural beauty is bringing vitality and new sources of wellbeing for so many.
Breathing new life into a previously abandoned railway line; a resuscitation, even renaissance of sorts.
A reminder that some of the greatest assets Ireland possesses are to be found within our natural landscape and heritage history; and that developing these can lead to a more vibrant sustainable future for all of us.
Having walked on various parts of the Greenway many times, and now cycling it with my son this morning ( ok so we only got as far as Kilmacthomas from the West Campus, not bad for novice cyclists!), I can honestly say the experience really is as good – if not better – than it sounds.
Meanwhile here’s a reminder of some tremendous reasons to enhance your wellbeing with Waterfords Greenway.
1 – Green Exercise
Spending time outdoors in nature, what I call green exercise, is so good for you. The Japanese call it ‘Forest Bathing!’, proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.
2 – Psychological Fitness is strengthened, shifting you from a sense of negative stress to a restorative recharge state, moving your busy beta wave ‘monkey mind’ closer to an alpha chilled out relaxed state.
3- Connecting with nature boosts your emotional wellbeing, and strengthens your relationships – not just with others but also with yourself! You become more creative and more likely to enter a flow state where more of your purposeful energy lies.
This positive state is contagious out to three degrees of separation, impacting not just your friends but also your friends friends and their friends in an upward spiral of wellbeing.
4 – Exercise of course is so good for your physical health and also your psychological fitness and emotional vitality. I call it the biochemical cocktail for brilliance; releasing all those happiness and positivity boosting chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin as well as natural painkillers called endorphins allowing you to feel more calm energised and optimistic.
5 – Environments that are health enhancing are known as ‘generative spaces’, places that have both a physical and social dimension.
If you’re reading this and you’re from distant lands, please consider coming to Ireland and make the ‘Sunny Southeast’ a stop off for real renewal, and for ‘green’ wellbeing. And if you’re in Ireland or even more local …no excuses! So go on, allow the Waterford Greenway to enhance your senses and reap the rewards for your wellbeing.