When fall comes around, most people take to locking themselves inside and retreating into their homes until summer has returned. But even in the fall and winter, getting outside might just do you some good as spending time in nature has been scientifically proven to impact your health positively, in both physical and psychological ways.
Here are 11 effects that spending time in nature has on your well being.
1. Relieve stress
I think it is safe to say that we all have a little stress in our everyday lives. Luckily, research has shown spending time in the forest can reduce your cortisol levels, otherwise known as the stress hormone, and decrease your heart rate. Even a view of the trees through a window is apparently enough to greatly lower your stress.
In addition, the negative impact of high-stress environments, that can be found within the cities, will increase production of cortisol which can interfere with your memory, weaken your immune system and bone density, and increases weight gain, blood pressure and heart disease. And this doesn’t even touch on the mental effects, that can result in depression disorders and effect brain development.
But luckily, spending some time in nature can counteract these effects.
2. Restore your mental energy
If you are experiencing what researchers call mental fatigue, studies suggest that getting outdoors can help give you that extra boost needed.
3. Improve your short-term memory
I guess it makes sense that with your revitalized mental energy that your memory also improves. From studies conducted on University of Michigan Students, it has been found that spending time in nature improved short-term memory by 20%. So, next time you need to take a test, be sure to bring the books with you to the park while you study.
4. Improve your concentration
Research has shown that children with ADHD are much more concentrated after spending time in nature, after even a short twenty-minute walk through a park. And while this study is geared towards ADHD, there is reason to believe that it will have similar effects on everyone.
5. Enhance your creativity
There might be a correlation between spending more time in nature, and improving your creativity, as suggested in a study that found people immersed in nature for four days had a 50% increase in their performance on a creative problem-solving test. It seems promising, however, this could also be associated with the decreased exposure to technology or other factors. Perhaps you’d like to put this theory to the test yourself.
6. Help combat mental illness
It goes without saying that you might see some improvement in your mental wellbeing when you consider the many other benefits you are seeing. But it could even go so far to help with anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.
One study showed that a walk in nature can be beneficial to people suffering from depression disorders and another found it could even raise self-esteem and improve bad moods.
So we’ve seen all the physiological benefits that spending a little extra time in nature can have, but what about the physical benefits?
Physical Health Benefits
7. Reduce inflammation in the body
Inflammation in the body can be correlated with many disconcerting health issues, including autoimmune disorders and even cancer. But luckily, one study has found that spending time in nature can reduce inflammation in the body.
8. Lower the risk of nearsightedness in children
If you have children, you might be excited to hear that time spent outdoors may have a positive effect on their vision and reduce the risk of developing nearsightedness (myopia).
9. Possibly reduce the risk of cancer
While research is still being conducted in this area before we can provide any definitive results, the research done does look promising, suggesting that spending time in nature may stimulate the production of anti-cancer proteins.
10. It might boost your immune system
Next time you are out for a walk in nature, be sure to take some deep breaths. Studies show a correlation between breathing in phytoncides, airborne chemicals produced by plants, and an increase in our levels of white blood cells, which are needed to fight off infections and diseases. Though more studies still need to be done in this area, it seems hopeful.
11. Decrease the risk of early death
With the multitude of benefits listed above, this one makes a lot of sense. Though studies can’t quite prove it to be certain, they do show strong associations between people who have access to nature, living long and healthy lives.
For instance, one study did find that disease was less common in people that lived close to green spaces. While this might not be an option for many people with jobs in the city, a trip into nature every so often will still have similar effects.
If you are in need of an escape to nature this fall, Eaglenest Sanctuary is the perfect retreat. Tucked away in the woods and nested alongside a running river, you are surrounded by beautiful nature to help restore your mental and physical health.