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The Health Benefits of Spending Time In Nature

It’s in our human nature to spend time outdoors. Since the dawn of time, humans have been interacting with nature. Before we had gardens in our backyards and kitchens, farming was our go-to way to connect with nature. Before farmland, we hunted our meat and gathered our fruits and vegetables. Now, with more city living and working from home on the rise, spending time outdoors seems further away from our human nature.

Although we may spend less time outdoors nowadays, it’s still natural for our bodies to long for time in nature. It’s healthy to break out of our urban environments and spend more time outdoors.

It’s in our blood to depend on nature for health benefits. Below are numerous ways nature can improve physical and mental health.

Photo: Shutterstock/Dirima

Ways To Connect

How can we naturally connect with nature to positively improve our health? Catering to our five senses is a great place to start.

Touch: Try “grounding” yourself by walking barefoot in the grass. Feeling the sun beaming down on your skin is another great way to benefit from nature’s glory.

Sound: Listening to ocean sounds or animal coos can help put you in a relaxing mood.

Sight: Hundreds of screensavers are automatically set to nature themes because they’re known to be relaxing. Having pictures of nature hung on the walls in your home will help improve relaxation.

Smell: Lighting candles that smell like the outdoors can remind you of nature. Essential oils and aromatherapy can do the same thing.

Taste: Growing a garden of your own is a great way to incorporate the freshness of nature into your life. In Addition, the nutrients of fresh fruit and vegetables can improve your health.

Photo: Shutterstock/Mimagephotography

Get Active

Spending time outdoors promotes more bodily movements, which improves your heart health. And living closer to the outdoors encourages more people to exercise outdoors.

The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that the more time humans spend outdoors, the more it will help to alleviate mental fatigue from the daily grind. Outdoor activities tend to make people happier by improving their emotional well-being which in turn helps boost their mood.

The immune system consists of cells that fight off illness naturally. Plants also produce phytoncides to fight against diseases. When humans are exposed to these natural substances outdoors, it can improve their immune systems.

There was a study conducted inside a hospital with recovering patients. Some patients were in a room with a view of nature; other patients didn’t have any windows. The study showed that patients with views of nature recovered faster than those without windows.

Photo: Shutterstock/David Tadevosian

More Brain Power & Improved Sleep

Nature also energizes the part of your brain that controls emotions, called the pre-frontal cortex. The outdoors may help to sharpen your memory and attention span because it can improve your brain function.

Living in urban areas tends to be noisy, harming many sleep cycles. Living in quieter environments near soothing sounds such as water can help maintain better sleep health.

Photo: Shutterstock/Fizkes

Healthier Pregnancies

Mothers who conceive their children around spaces with nature can have babies with fewer birth complications and healthier birth weights. In turn, the mothers can have a calmer birthing experience when surrounded by nature during their pregnancy.

Nature doesn’t only consist of landscapes of the outdoors. It can constitute fresh fruits and vegetables and taking care of your indoor plants. Animals make up a large part of nature, too. Petting, playing, and cuddling with your pet can improve your overall mental and physical health as well. Even if you live in a city full of skyscrapers and busy streets, bits of nature are still around.