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Walking in the rain

Walking in the rain


After a long hot summer the rain we’ve been hoping for has well and truly here come…..  lots of it!

But while many of us will be inclined to stay under cover watch it behind the ‘safety’ of our window, there are lots of reasons to grab an umbrella and get out there into the midst (and the mist) of it all.

Walking in the rain seems to heighten and soothe our senses. The gentle pitter patter sound of rain on the surfaces around us, the fresh, earthy scent during those first moments of rain and the tender caress of rain on our skin all combine to create a soothing calm, and who couldn’t do with a bit more of that?

Rain & negative ions

Negative ions are charged molecules that we can’t see, smell or taste but they improve our health and longevity when we’re exposed to an abundance of them. They’ve been shown to help reduce stress, depression and anxiety and boost our cognitive ability. In fact one very interesting study showed that people prone to panic attacks were much less likely to feel panic after rainfall when there is an abundance of negative ions.

Negative ions are depleted by electronic devices and equipment but are found in abundance in forests and near moving water. Negative ion counts are particularly high just after rainfall, but they are also high around sunrise and sunset during clear, calm, normal humidity days. So if you’ve had a little too much screen time lately, today could be the day to get out into the forest for a rainy, ionising walk.

Cleansing effect

Raindrops attract hundreds of floating particles as they fall so they clean the air on their way to the earth. Then when they hit the soil their impact releases air in the soil that sends bacteria and plant oils airborne. That fresh, earthy scent that fills the air during the first moments of rain has a name – petrichor – a term coined by two Australian scientists in the 60s. That scent has a calming effect on us, and combined with the inescapable inevitability that seems to accompany rain it could be said that the whole experience creates a cleansing and soothing effect.

Burn more calories

Believe it or not exercising in cold, rainy weather burns more calories. Who knew?!

Rainy walking tips

Even with an umbrella your feet can get wet so wear waterproof shoes so that your feet won’t get soggy and blister

It can be liberating to go for it and walk (or run) in the rain with no umbrella or rain jacket and let yourself get soaked without trying to hide from the drops. Just make sure to change into warm dry clothes straight away afterwards.

If you’re caught in the rain and want to stay as dry as possible the long standing debate about whether to run or walk (which has extremely complicated factors to be considered) seems to have settled on this answer as the solution: run for it!


For wet and dry weather walking ideas check out the Byron Trails guidebook.

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