Research has proven that spending time with Mother Nature can improve your mental and physical well-being. Whether it’s going for a quick stroll, hiking in the woods or sitting in your garden, breathing fresh air will elevate your mood and provide mental clarity, according to the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School.
Not only is nature good for our minds, but it is also pertinent to our health. Americans spend far too many hours indoors--nearly 90% of our lives are spent indoors where air pollution can be up to 10x worse than the air outside. Moreover, studies show that exposure to nature helps us deal with societal pressures, allowing us to value more important things like relationships and community. Below we cover the benefits of how nature is good for the mind, body and soul.
Reap the Health Benefits of Nature:
1. SOAK UP THE SUN! - Get your daily dose of vitamin D in just 15 minutes each day. We get more than 90% of our vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
2. Boost energy - spending just 20 minutes in fresh air gives you a brain and energy boost comparable to one cup of coffee.
3. Feels easier to exercise - studies show that outdoor activity supports less physical
exertion. Plus, grass, trees, and other plants may add a
psychological energy boost to your workout.
4. Good for vision - in one study, students who spent more time outdoors were less likely to develop nearsightedness.
5. Help pain tolerance - research shows surgery patients who were exposed to high-intensity sunlight reported less stress and pain which led to less pain medication.
6. Boost immune systems - scientists think that breathing in phytoncides—airborne chemicals produced by plants—increases white blood cell levels which fight infections and diseases.
7. Restore focus - take time to the smell the flowers and take a walk outside.
Studies show that walking in nature helps restore focus and feel more relaxed.
8. Enhance creativity - ditch your laptop and head outdoors to get your imagination flowing. Psychologists found that backpackers scored 50% higher on creativity tests after spending time in the wild.
9. Ease anxiety - research supports that being in nature can improve your feelings
of well-being and reduce anxiety. Winter and cold days can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—anxiety, exhaustion, and sadness, but time outside can lessen these symptoms.
10. Indulge in forest bathing - Forest bathing, or forest therapy, is a Japanese concept which emphasizes spending time away from the city and embracing nature. Connecting with nature and the earth’s energy can improve sleep and reduce inflammation.
So it’s time to get off the couch and enjoy the great outdoors for the good of your health and well-being!