Surprising Benefits of Being in Nature

Time with Mother Nature can lower stress and motivate physical activity

From the LifeMinute.TV

August 5, 2023

National Play Outside Day is August 5. Celebrate the day by unplugging in the great outdoors or connecting with natural space and also discover the many health benefits it can reap.

Improves Physical Health
Research has shown that people who spend time stepping out in nature or green spaces are more likely to be motivated to exercise and have higher rates of keeping a healthy weight. And being active is associated with higher life expectancy and lower risks of certain types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer.

Relieves Stress
Just 20 minutes of connecting with nature can help lower stress hormone levels and reduce muscle tension and heart rate – all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 10-50 minutes of sitting or walking in natural spaces (like a trail or park) may be even more effective in improving mood, focus, and physiological indicators like blood pressure and heart rate.

Enhances Sleep
Spending time with Mother Nature may be an effective way to help reset the body’s internal clock, improving your natural circadian rhythm and allowing you to sleep more soundly at night. Being outside can also give your mind and body a breather from artificial light, which could sometimes disrupt natural sleeping patterns.

Encourages Community Connection
Offering accessible, well-maintained green space where we feel safe can connect us with other people and may increase the opportunity and motivation of people to use the space more often. One study suggests residents in public housing with trees and green spaces around their building engaged in more social activities than residents living in buildings without them. Residents also experienced stronger feelings of unity and belonging to the neighborhood.

Reduces Depression
Exposure to natural environments has been linked with declines in depression, anxiety, and rumination. Developing research suggests that time spent near water (blue spaces) can benefit health and well-being too. Access to waterscapes, like streams, lakes, rivers, and coasts, may offer a reflective setting to clear your head and relax.

Boosts Contentedness and Cooperation
Studies have found that merely viewing nature in images or videos leads to greater prosocial tendencies—generosity, cooperation, and kindness. Even briefly watching nature shows can lead to notable increases in positive emotions, including awe, contentedness, and amusement. Watching nature programs can also counteract the boredom associated with being isolated indoors.

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