Health Benefits of Nature
Summer is here and the drive to get outside is strong. Most of us intuitively may notice that nature is good for us. When we feel stressed going for a walk can help us to relax. Other times we feel cravings for green parks and sandy beaches. Many of us spend our weekends out in the forest, at the beach or parks (usually stacking in some really good movement at the same time). But beyond being fun and relaxing did you know there are real health benefits of nature immersion?
There is a strong connection to our societies increased time indoors and looking at screens ( resulting in less time spent outside) along with increased rates of mental illness in our society. If you think about it until recently humans grew up spending lots of time outdoors. Even just a generation back kids spent much more time outside. How many of you remember your parents telling you to “go outside and play” and after a long day of fun returning for dinner around dark. Now both children and adults spend most of their waking hours looking at screens, paper or other objects indoors.
Although the most benefits have been shown through complete nature immersion, the health benefits of nature have been demonstrated when people spend time in an urban park, green space, or even have elements of nature, such as paintings of natural landscapes, plants and nature sound in their home or office.
There are many health benefits of nature including mental and physical. Being in nature can produce meditative and mindfulness states. These states along with a connection to nature can in turn help with many mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and much more. Not only does nature help with mental illness but it also provides us with mental performance benefits such as increased altruism, makes us happier, can increase memory, focus and energy.
Beyond mental health, there are some purely physical reasons to get outside. Some studies have shown links between nature immersion and strengthened immunity, reduction in inflammation, improved eyesight, regulate circadian rhythms, weight loss and more. Some of these benefits have been associated with the fact that when we are in nature we breath better air, get more exercise, and are exposed to natural light (which helps improve Vitamin D levels).
This is just the surface. There are wide ranging benefits to nature immersion, not to mention the fact that it just feels good! Are you feeling inspired yet to go outside? We hope you get hooked on nature.
Stay tuned for some group nature excursions this summer with the DMC community! Our first outing will be a Lynn Cayon Hike on Saturday, July 29th!