Why living amongst nature is good for your health
de-stress by improving blood pressure
Something about being outside changes the physical expression of stress in the body. Being outdoors also has so many benefits for our mental health.
One thing that can help get your mind back into gear is exposing it to restorative environments, which, research has found, generally means the great outdoors.
Studies have also found that natural beauty can elicit feelings of awe, which is one of the surest ways to experience a mental boost.
Improves concentration and ability to focus
The natural environment is “restorative” fresh air and good health, mental health and walking are very closely linked.
In one study, researchers worked to deplete participants’ ability to focus. Then some people took a walk in nature, others took a walk through the city, and the rest just relaxed. When everyone returned, the nature group scored the best on a proofreading task.
Daffodils and snowdrops in the woodlands
Taking quiet time to reflect in nature can be positive for our mental health and well-being.
Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in nature, especially when that’s combined with outdoor activity.
One study found that walks in the forest were associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods.
“Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood,” found an analysis of 10 earlier studies about so-called “green exercise.” That review also indicated that “the mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements.”
The presence of water made the positive effects even stronger, the findings suggested.
Ducks on the lake on a spring day
Boosts your short-term memory
In one study, the University of Michigan students were given a brief memory test, and then divided into two groups. One group took a walk around an arboretum, and the other took a walk down a city street. When the participants returned and did the test again, those who had walked among trees did almost 20% better than they had the first time. The people who had taken in city sights instead did not consistently improve.
A similar study on depressed individuals found that walks in nature boosted working memory much more than walks in urban environments.
Boosts your immune system
So why is being outside so good for your health? Being in the sunshine can also help with our intake of Vitamin D which can help boost our immune system – something we all need right now to keep strong against the recent pandemic. The Sun Is Your Best Source of Vitamin D. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. We can also get some vitamin D from a small number of foods, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs.