With spring on the way and cabin fever at an all-time high, we can finally look forward to the many health advantages of being outside.
“The physiological reaction to being outdoors in nature is genuine and observable,” said Michelle Kondo of the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. “There are many physical and psychological benefits of nature that scientists have observed, which can better help us understand how nature supports wellness in the body, mind and community.”
1. Physical Wellness
Being outdoors in green areas promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, which has been found to boost life expectancy, sleep quality, and cancer risk.
“Many of the benefits afforded to us by green spaces partially results from more opportunities to be active,” said Kondo. “Being in outside green places may also boost motivation.”
According to several research, natural outdoor landscapes in metropolitan areas are more appealing for physical activity and are more likely to drive individuals to exercise, resulting in better levels of fitness.
Being outdoors in nature is also soothing, lowering stress, cortisol levels, muscular tension, and heart rates – all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
“Since scientists have gained access to data sets, sometimes capturing an entire country’s population of medical records and hospital data, we are finding that patient diagnoses and chronic illness risk are often related to where an individual lives and their proximity to green spaces,” said Kondo. “And that’s a link that’s likely to strengthen as more research is conducted.”
Nature not only promotes physical wellbeing, but it also promotes mental wellness in individuals.
2. Mental Wellness
Being outdoors in green settings has various mental health advantages, including a decreased risk of depression and a speedier recovery from psychological stress. Studies have shown that being in nature can restore and strengthen our mental capacities, increasing focus and attention.
In one experiment, two groups of participants were required to complete an intellectually demanding exercise, such as a math exam. One group is asked to take their break in a green space, outside in a park, while the other takes their break near a busy street intersection. According to the findings, the group in the natural environment demonstrated more attention and concentration than the second group.
Social connection is another important aspect of mental wellness. The outdoors serves as a venue to come together with friends and family and connect with the larger community.
“This closeness is extremely crucial for us right now,” Kondo said. “We are finding that isolation is a killer, and that the outdoors really provides that space for us to come together under trees or to walk together along trails.”
3. Wellness in the Community
Access to nature may help whole communities by minimizing environmental stresses such as air pollution, noise, and heat.
“Our study is mainly focused on various sorts of surroundings and how they effect individuals,” Kondo said. “For example, we’ve looked at abandoned city lots, cleaning and greening them up, planting grass and a few trees, and the influence that transformation has on the surrounding neighborhood.”
Cleansing and greening have been proven to lower overall neighborhood crime by 13% and to lessen feelings of despair in neighboring households by 41%.
Nature has also been found to influence how people connect with one another in heavily crowded locations. “We’ve found in neighborhoods that receive tree plantings or other greening initiatives, that people tend to have better attitudes towards their neighbors, “said Kondo, “which in turn often results in better relationships.”
There are advantages to going outdoors, whether it is to a park in your neighborhood or to explore the huge vistas of national forests and grasslands.
“Wellness is wholistic in that it is comprised of physical and mental health as well as the health of our communities,” said Kondo. “All of these benefits add up and reduce adverse impacts on our bodies, and have restorative characteristics. So go outside and appreciate nature’s healing gift.”
What is great about the outdoors?
The great outdoors may enhance your mood, boost your confidence and self-esteem, and make you feel more connected to your community and nature. A study showed that spending just 120 minutes a week outside is associated with good health and well-being, and those two hours don’t need to be all at once.
What is it about the outdoors that makes us so entertained?
Fresh scents, sounds, and sights always make youngsters happy and might motivate them. Being outside helps build independence, freedom and their sense of discovery as they take leaps and test their abilities while learning about nature and its inhabitants.
What motivates people to spend outdoors?
You’ll be happier as a result. According to studies, spending time outdoors is good for your mental health. It naturally increases serotonin levels in the brain, which is the “feel good” neurotransmitter.
Why is the outdoors calming?
In addition to natural light exposure, getting outside will help calm nerves and anxiety that may be keeping you up at night. Fresh air also includes more oxygen, which aids in the reduction of blood pressure and heart rate.