Spring is almost upon us, and as always, we’d really recommend getting out there and enjoying it. Not just because nature is absolutely stunning, but also because there are some real health benefits of spending time in the great outdoors.
The benefits of being in nature are almost too myriad to mention, but here are some of the top benefits.
Improves your mood
Nature can be a very strong mood enhancer, helping many people across the globe to feel happier every day.
In one study, published in the science journal PLOS One, those that interacted with nature routinely showed a significant increase in their own happiness. This effect lasted not only for the entire duration of their study, but for months after the study was finished.
Vitamin D is another huge benefit of being outside, and is widely known to improve your mood.
Makes you healthier
Being out in nature also makes you healthier, in a number of different ways.
For example, being out in nature exposes you to phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants produce to protect themselves from insects. However, by breathing in these chemicals, you actually increase the activity of certain types of tumour and virus-killing white blood cells.
Getting out in nature also often includes exercising, even if it is just light exercise. Small, regular walks through the park can lead to the prevention of Alzheimer’s, depending on your routine.
And you’ll feel this increase in your own health too. In the previously mentioned PLOS One study, the number of participants who reported their health as “excellent” increased by 30%.
Being outside amongst nature can also reduce the amount of stress you feel. One study found that people who were exposed to a forest environment had lower levels of cortisol – a hormone that is often used as a marker for stress.
The conclusion of that study? “Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy”
Nature is also widely known to help improve focus. Focus is something that is severely lacking for many of us, as our lives get increasingly busier with jobs, school and family life. Social media also doesn’t help, distracting us from the task at hand.
Mental fatigue is real, but one thing that can help you to focus more is exposing yourself to restorative environments. Restorative environments were found to have increased the attention span of people who were exposed to them over those that weren’t.
Enhances cognitive function
Spending time in the great outdoors can also have a restorative effect on the human psyche. People with mental health issues, such as depression, were found to have reported an increase in their own mood.