There is truth to the old adage of “get some fresh air, it’s good for you.” Numerous studies have uncovered a direct correlation between time spent outdoors and improvement in one’s actual, measurable health, indicating there are health benefits of being outside. The Japanese even have a name for it – shinrin-yoku, or the art of using time in nature to heal one’s ills.
The Nippon Medical School in Tokyo conducted research that points to time in nature as being a natural boost to the immune system and responsible for an increase in cancer-fighting proteins in the body. Other physical, mental, and general wellness benefits have been discovered, too. Let’s talk about some of the proven benefits of being in nature.
Research has shown that spending time in nature enables both kids and adults alike to focus more easily and eliminate ADHD-style impulses. Concentration in our normal lives can be enhanced by allowing time in nature to calm our nerves and simplify the number of real or perceived distractions in our lives.
Shortens Healing Times
Can spending time outdoors really make one heal faster? The answer is unequivocally “yes”! Research has shown that those who purposefully spend more time in nature during their post-surgery recovery period required fewer painkillers, had shorter hospital stays, and recorded fewer complications than those who didn’t get outside.
A recent study from the renowned University of Michigan showed that enhanced mental health is a common byproduct of group nature walks and other group outings in the outdoors. If you’ve had a truly challenging day, consider lifting your spirits and lowering your levels of depression with nature’s benefits through an evening walk or group trek outside.
Makes Aging Easier
A study in the Journal of Aging and Health showed that adults over the age of 70 who spent significant time outside were less likely to experience common, age-related health and wellness concerns like aches, pains, sleep issues, and mobility problems. There are many benefits of outdoor exercise, and a moderate-paced walk outside each day can help to lower blood pressure, improve mood, and make seniors feel great.
Maximizes Vitamin D
While you can get some Vitamin D from foods like fish or cheese, nearly 90% of it is typically harnessed via the sun’s rays. By spending quality time outdoors, you’ll naturally expose yourself to more UV rays. This can result in more Vitamin D, fewer heart-related maladies, lower risk of osteoporosis, and even better resistance to cancer. Just remember to use sunscreen appropriately to minimize the chances of skin damage and maximize the benefits of being outside.
Spending time in nature is incredibly beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you have to push yourself to the limit to realize these uplifting benefits of being outside. Instead, create a plan or calendar that includes an array of outdoor activities – from hiking, to bird watching, to simply sitting in nature. Enjoying our incredible world firsthand and outdoors will have a positive and peaceful impact on your entire life.