Raining can be very soothing and because of that many people like to walk in the rain. If you have consider them crazy, don’t anymore, as rain can really soothe the mind, body, and soul. The reason of such anxiety relief is the pleasant smell of the rain.
Petrichor – The Scent of Rain
While walking in the rain you are inhaling the smell of the rain that calms down the mind thus letting out all the suppressed feelings and thoughts. The word Petrichor was given by Australian scientists, Isabel Joy Bear and Richard Thomas, who were inspired by the Greek words petros, meaning stone, and ichor meaning the fluid that flows from the veins of the gods. This amazing scent is produced by nitrogen molecules, soil-dwelling bacteria, and the oils released from plants while dry periods.
Therefore if you practice walking in the rain you will gain many benefits along with reduced stress levels.
Benefits of Walking in the Rain
Aside the incredible anxiety relief a walk in the rain can offer other benefits for the body and mind. Here they are:
Many studies have proven that the air gets cleaned while raining as when the raindrops fall, they attract hundreds of aerosol particles of pollutants, including dander, soot, bacteria, sulfate, and dander, before hitting the ground. Because of that the air is significantly clearer and fresher after raining.
This has been scientifically proven by a conducted study, released in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The researchers held the experiment in the group’s MIT Collection Efficiency Chamber which represents a 3-foot-tall glass chamber that generates single droplets of rain at a controlled rate and size. They also confirmed that the air is cleaner after heavy rainfall, therefore when raining open your window wide and inhale the fresh air, or even better go for a walk outside.
Not only the scent but as well as the sound that is produced by the falling of the rain droplets offers calmness and relaxation. Namely the brain interprets the water sounds such as rainfall and lapping waves as non-threats. As a result of that we find the sound of rain relaxing thus soothing our body and releasing the current stress.
Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University, explains it in this way:
“These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people. It’s like they’re saying: ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry.”
The sound that is produced is considered to be a white noise that masks all other noises. Thanks to this white noise our mind is not fixating on the other sounds that bother us. The white-noise effect helps us to fall asleep easier and have more relaxing rest.
Rainwater is alkaline in nature and very fresh containing no harmful particles and minerals. It is extremely soft which makes it ideal for your hair. On the other hand, thanks to its alkaline nature it maintains the normal pH level of the skin.
The cold and rainy weather contributes to higher energy demand while running and as a result of that the metabolism rate is higher contributing to efficient melting of fat and burning calories.
This has been confirmed by a Japanese conducted study, released in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. For the purpose of this study, a group of Japanese researchers had seven healthy men running on a treadmill for half an hour, in a chamber that simulated rainy conditions. The results showed that when the physical activity is done in cold and rainy weather the body burns more fat and calories than in moderate weather.
While exercising the muscles produce heat and thus increase the body temperature to about 104 degrees. As a result of that the body decreases the speed as in order to cool you down, it redirects the blood flow from working muscles to the skin that lowers the performance.
If you exercise while raining the rainwater acts as a cooling system thereby preventing the inevitable overheating while exercising. This could be a solution to minimize any increase in body temperature. This habit will lower the risk of heart disease and allow you to exercise longer, faster, and more efficient.
According to a carried out recent research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences the intermittent facial water spray while exercising assists in better performance. The research involved 9 trained male runners who ran on the treadmill in the heat for a distance of 5km. During the running time trials their faces were intermittently sprayed with cool water. The findings of the research showed better performance level; they improved their time at least 36 seconds, and had 9% greater activation in their leg muscles.
The rain will teach the body to react to different weather conditions especially if you perform your regular workout outside. The body will have no choice but to adapt to the new conditions, and that will better the exercise performance and make you quicker.