You probably already know that nature is good for you. Maybe you've heard something about it in the media, or maybe you just feel better on some level when you are outside. Here are 10 reasons why a dose of nature is good for you...
1. It makes you feel good! Spending time in nature increases serotonin production in your brain and can lift your mood in as little as 20 minutes. People who live on streets with lots of trees have been shown to be happier than those who live on streets without trees. So if you want a quick boost of happiness, go for a 20 minute walk in a park or forest.
2. It lowers your blood pressure. Spending time in green spaces, particularly forests, can lower your blood pressure. This is so powerful that even looking at a picture of a forest will have some effect, although not as much as physically being there.
4. Nature can improve your physical health and fitness. Walking outside is more beneficial to your health than walking the same distance on a treadmill. It can also inspire you to start or maintain an exercise habit if you have the added incentive of exercising in a natural environment. The beauty we perceive in nature acts as a stimulus and reward to our brain for getting outside.
5. Nature can boost our immune system. Plants and trees give off phytoncides, airborne chemicals with antibacterial and antifungal properties that protect them from disease. When we breathe them in there is an increase in a type of white blood cell in our bodies called Natural Killer cells (NK). These NK cells are responsible for killing tumour-infected cells and virus-infected cells. Exposure to pathogens that naturally occur in the air and soil can also help boost our immunity by building up a tolerance in our bodies towards these pathogens so they are less likely to make us ill.
7. Nature has a positive impact on your mental health. Many studies have shown that spending time outdoors reduces stress and anxiety and can aid in the recovery from mental illness. It also acts as a preventative measure, with people who spend regular time in nature from childhood onward being significantly less likely to suffer from mental illnesses as an adult.
8. Spending time in nature boosts concentration and memory, and can be particularly helpful for children with ADHD. If you spend a lot of time indoors, working in an office environment for example, your brain can feel really foggy by the end of the day. If you take a 20 minute walk in a park at lunchtime it has a restorative effect and you will be much more productive in the afternoon. Natural environments can be calming and help restore focus to children who find concentrating for long periods difficult. Nature time has been recommended as an inexpensive and widely accessible tool for managing ADHD symptoms.
10. Spending time in nature can improve your family relationships. The serotonin boost you get from being outside works to strengthen family bonds when you are outside together. Family activities such as building a den or catching tadpoles involve working together and problem solving. This teamwork can lead to improved communication between family members, and often has long-lasting effects resulting in a more peaceful and connected home life.
All in all, if you are feeling a bit run down or under the weather, some time outdoors in a natural environment might be just what you need! If you want some ideas you can download my free guide on how to use nature to improve your wellbeing.
What is your favourite way to get a dose of nature? Let me know in the comments! If you found this article useful please share it with your friends or pin the image below to Pinterest so more people can find it. Thanks!
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