Skip to content
5 Jun 2020

Why try a self-guided trail?

Like most urban-dwellers, Sydneysiders are living increasingly fast-paced, pressurised and stressful daily lives. In fact, studies show that the prevalence of mental health issues is 30% higher in cities than it is in rural areas. Our Parks, gardens and coasts are essential for winding down, but how does being outside actually influence our mood and mental health?

Being in nature reduces stress

Spending time in nature actually has a physiological effect on the body, reducing blood pressure and the hormone cortisol, which is linked with stress. Being in beautiful outdoor surroundings acts as refreshment for the brain, which can also improve focus, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

Centennial Parklands

Natural light will improve your sleep

Light helps to regulate your natural biological clock. Before the days of artificial lighting and screens, people would naturally wake up with the sunrise and sleep when it became dark.

Modern living has shifted this pattern a little but natural light still has the same effect on sleep cycles. A study of workers at different latitudes, with different amounts of sunlight each day, found that less natural light resulted in poorer sleep.

This is important because insufficient or poor-quality sleep can have a negative effect on your mental health. The Australian National Sleep Foundation promotes sleep as a way to battle depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Centennial Parklands outdoor mental health

It encourages physical activity

Naturally, being outside will mean you are more likely to move your body, rather than sitting inside on a sofa or at a desk. Walking is the most popular activity when outside but being in nature has a whole host of options, such as fishing, biking, climbing, sailing, amongst others.

Even a small amount of exercise is shown to have a positive impact on the mind by improving your mood, concentration and reducing stress.

Self-guided walking trails through the Parklands provide a low-impact opportunity to mindfully explore one of the world's finest urban parks. Take time to discover some of the Parklands' most iconic and interesting trees, or follow the digital Wildlife and Heritage Walk brochure to experience the flora, fauna and history of Sydney. 

Being outside increases social interactions

In 1950, only 30% of humanity were urban dwellers, but by 2050, 66% of the human population is projected to live in cities. Despite being much closes together, we are spending more time apart and isolated. However, people living in building with more grass and trees nearby interact and socialise with their neighbours and have a stronger sense of community.

Research by the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney into the benefits of community gardens is a great example of this happening right here in the heart of Sydney. Watch the video below to hear more about the benefits of community garden spaces on community cohesion.

It gives you a break from work

One of the more obvious benefits of spending time in nature is that it gets you away from the screens that are becoming increasingly prevalent at home, at work and everything in between.

By taking a break once in a while, you’re more likely to do better at work, and getting that praise from your boss is bound to make you feel much better! Wind down from work and get your dose of vitamin (N)ature!

Moore Park Golf

What do you do to support your mental health?

There are many free and accessible ways to spend time outdoors at Centennial Parklands including this self-guided Tree Trail, the Wildlife and Heritage Walk, or taking a gentle and peaceful walk on the Centennial Park Labirynth.

Category: Experiences
If you are a journalist and have a media enquiry about this story, please click here for contact details and more information.