Ah yes, the amazing benefits of being out in nature. When we are submerged in the outdoors, be it a tree in the backyard or standalone pond, we do our mind and body a huge favor. The best part? This is true for all ages and walks of life.
The outdoors is one of the most natural (and reliable) sources of a wellbeing boost and there is a ton of science to prove it. In fact, current research says that what you feel, see, hear — literally all that you experience in nature has a therapeutic effect on not only your mood, but also your immune and nervous systems. Holistic practitioner Paula Hurlock tells us that, “humans are electromagnetic beings who must spend time out in nature to fight anxiety and depression.”
While you may not always get the opportunity to be in a green space, taking the initiative to get out the door can do the body a whole lot of good. This in turn motivates you to improve in a number of ways including spiritually, socially, emotionally, and physically — all of which can help offset the chance of isolation, illness, disability, and you guessed it, boredom. Want more good reasons to get out and get moving? In this article, we share several ways that have been scientifically backed!
Nature gives you a mood boost
According to Minnesota researchers at the University of Minnesota, being out in nature — even if it’s just to have a sight see of the scenes from indoors — has been shown to elevate feelings of happiness, giving a natural mood boost.
Nature aids in stress reduction
Many may not know this but being in nature for just under 30 minutes has been shown to reduce stress. This was found in a study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2019 — results were so significant, that health practitioners are greatly encouraged to prescribe their patients with ‘nature time’.
Nature can improve your memory
This might also come to a surprise, but believe it or not, nature can improve your short-term and working memory. A study showed that walking outside could improve a person’s short-term memory by around 20%.
Nature connects us with others
Nature sometimes is associated with being isolated and spending time alone — but, it actually does the opposite. Researchers have found that nature helps you feel more relaxed and calm and fosters feelings of love and a sense of belonging in the world.
Nature improves problem-solving and creativity
There’s so much to do and see in the outdoors, so it makes sense that it would get our creative juices flowing. Whether you decide to take a quick jog, go hiking, or just gaze at the beauty in the sky, according to a 2012 study, it can spark creativity and help improve your ability to problem solve.
Nature protects from anxiety and depression
This may seem like a no-brainer, being that nature is so beautiful and has lots to admire. It’s been well-studied that there is a strong link between depression and anxiety in the medical sector. It’s believed by the scientific community that the more time you spend in nature, the clearer your consensus becomes.
Nature is good for heart health
When you’re out in nature exploring, you’re moving your body — so of course, it can have a therapeutic effect on your cardiovascular health. Playing catch in the park, walking on the beach, or any physical activity performed outdoors can greatly improve your heart health.
Nature gives hope
Nature has a lovely way of melting away stress every day. Those who enjoy being out in green spaces are more likely to feel better not only about their health, but also about their future.
Nature reduces inflammation and pain
When threatened, the body will experience inflammation — be it, an exposure to a flu or an injury. But, there are times when our body experiences too much inflammation which can cause a number of other more serious health issues. A little time out in nature, though, has the power to reduce pain and inflammation — especially true for elderly persons.
Fun, simple ways to spend more time in nature
You don’t have to move to a rural area or live on a beach to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Below we share are a few ways for you to get a natural boost of nature, no matter where you reside!
- Wake up early to catch the sun rising — what’s a better way to start the day?
- Enjoy your meals outside, and if you are close to any fruit trees, why not snag one to enjoy and explore?
- Get some exercise outdoors and take a jog or brisk walk.
- Have a cool drink on a warm day or a coffee on a cool day and take a stroll down the street.
- Take your reading outside – sitting under a tree or lying down on the grass can be really relaxing.
- Practice mindfulness while on a green pasture of hiking path. Not only can this help you to connect with nature more, but it can create a pleasant experience for the five senses — appreciate the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the planet. Learn to feel more present in the moment
- Breathe in some fresh air either early in the morning or just after a rainfall.
- Have curiosity! Exploring the great outdoors is virtually free yet, for a low cost you can conduct some research to some local natural wonders.
- Find a new activity! This may include rock collecting, hiking, or bird watching.
- Allow sunshine to pour into your home. It’s no secret that exposure to the sun can help boost your mood by increasing serotonin in your system.
Nature is nothing more than our friend. As we’ve learned today, there are a ton of ways to get out there and genuinely connect to the planet — and the benefits and therapeutic healing properties of nature speaks for itself!
Not only is it healthy, grows our appreciation, but it’s also free to explore these benefits provided by nature, which as a result could be the solution to promoting optimal health.