Nature is good for you. Scientists have known this for a long time, but in the 21st century, our tightly scheduled and indoor-centered lives mean that many people don’t get enough exposure to natural daylight, clean air, and green spaces. This is dangerous. In this blog post, you will learn about the scientific benefits of spending time outside—how it can reduce stress, improve your mood, increase mental focus, and even decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These are just some of the many benefits that come with spending more time in nature. Get inspired by these ideas on how you can incorporate more time outdoors into your everyday life.
Reduce Stress and Depression
Exposing yourself to nature can be a great way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Research has found that spending time in nature helps people recover from stressful situations by lowering cortisol levels and boosting mood. These benefits mostly come from increased exposure to daylight — which makes up about 50% of the total mood-boosting effect of nature. The rest is in the “green-ness” around you: the sound of insects, the fresh smell of vegetation, and the feeling of soft ground underfoot. Both indoor and outdoor environments can have significant impacts on people’s mental health. But outdoor environments have been found to be more beneficial and less distracting.
Improve Your Mood
Humans are naturally drawn to green spaces — and that’s because they are good for us. Research has found that the presence of green and vegetation outdoors is linked to an increase in positive mood and self-reported attention. A 2010 study found that mood and attention levels increased after a walk in a green and natural environment, while they decreased after a walk in a city environment.
Increase Mental Focus
Being outside in nature can help you concentrate and increase your mental focus. The presence of greenery is a proven cognitive enhancer- and can help to improve your attention, creativity, problem-solving skills, and even your short-term memory. This is likely because being surrounded by nature forces the brain to actively engage with its surroundings and dedicate some attention to it — which can help to increase your overall mental focus.
Build Stronger Bones
Habits like walking and gardening can build stronger bones. This is because being outside in the fresh air and sunlight helps kickstart your body’s natural production of vitamin D. Most of us get most of our vitamin D from diet, but around 40% of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient — and this can lead to low bone density.
Help You Breathe Easier
Allergies and asthma are on the rise in many parts of the world. This could be because of our tendency to live more and more indoors. In fact, studies have found that the average suburbanite spends 90% of their time indoors. Spending less time out in the fresh air and sunlight can reduce the number of helpful microbes in the air around you — which can lead to allergies and asthma. As a result, spending more time outside in nature can help reverse this trend.
Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Excessive amounts of time indoors may also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found that people who spend more time outside have a significantly reduced risk of developing this degenerative condition. It has been suggested that this is because spending time in green and natural environments could help activate and boost the production of a certain protein in the body by around 50%.
Natural light contains a huge number of health benefits — and can help you to breathe easier, build stronger bones, boost your mental focus, reduce stress, and even protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Many of these benefits are a natural result of increased exposure to daylight. Other benefits are likely linked to the “green-ness” of the environment — such as the smell of vegetation and the sound of insects. Being outside in nature is also likely to help you concentrate and increase your mental focus. It can also help to build stronger bones and protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Spending more time outside in nature is sure to benefit your health in multiple ways — so don’t forget to take advantage of the fresh air and sunlight!