With the comfort of our modern day society, most of us tend to forget the simple benefits of nature. Still, going out to the great outdoors remains one of the most reliable activities to improve your overall well-being, both physically and mentally.
Is it a coincidence then that many Grand Masters mention the necessity of walking in nature before or after a game?
Probably not. Let’s see how nature can be a perfect way to strengthen and inspire your chess game.
Benefits of spending some time in nature
Many studies have shown that spending some time in nature is really valuable for our welfare. Both your body and your brain will thank you in the long run if you become an adept. Among all the benefits, I’ve retained 5 of them which explain how your chess game will benefit from natural surroundings:
- Improved concentration
Have you ever noticed that taking breaks outside the office gives your brain a boost and helps you get right back into it? If some fresh air is already great, this study looked to confirm the nature ‘effect’ and participants were found to concentrate better after just 20 minutes in a park, compared to another group who relaxed as usual, and a third one which simply walked in the city.
- Restored mental energy
Looking for a way to replenish your mind right before a game? I’ve already given you some keys for that purpose here. Indeed, natural environments turn out to be particularly beneficial in terms of restoring your mental energy.
- Stress relief
A chess match can really be stressful. And guess what? Plunge into nature before or after the game is probably one of the easiest and best solutions to decompress. No need to say that science is clear on the subject.
- Enhanced memory
Researchers from the psychology department of the University of Michigan explored the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. They reported that walking in a park will also boost your memory. It may be interesting if you have difficulties remembering your chess preparations.
- Sharper creativity
According to this other study, it seems that an increased exposure to nature (four days of immersion to be exact) leads to better problem-solving abilities. Even if researchers cannot prove whether it is due to nature itself or the decreased exposure to technology, we can argue that both are great anyway.
Get some sunshine
If you are going for a natural spin, you may as well do it under the sun.
Holing up inside deprives us from sunbeams, our main source of vitamin D, which helps put us in better mood.
And additionally to being calmer and less frustrated, a good dose of vitamin D also prevents you from multiple health problems as it has been highlighted in this study.
Good news is even a short time of exposure to sunlight—15 minutes—will really help.
Leave the city!
Armed with all these elements, you don’t have excuses anymore to put on your shoes, find a park or a forest and go for a walk.
Ok maybe you can make an exception if it rains too much, since I’ve also used this excuse for the past 3 weeks. Sun and Belgium are not really a great match for those who don’t know.
Note however that even if a bit of sunshine will make the stroll more enjoyable and full of vitamin D, you will have the same benefits whatever the weather and temperature outside are.
So starting from now, don’t forget to leave the city from time to time.