• 5 Health Benefits to Spending Time in Nature

    By Jenise Henrikson, January 30, 2015
    benefits of spending time in nature

    Our childhood memories often include hours spent outside; riding bicycles, climbing trees, building forts. As we get older, those hours are spent in classrooms, and later offices.

    Over the years, spending time outside, becomes less important as we focus on work deadlines, chores around the house, and play dates for our kids. Spending time outdoors seems less important – and that is a huge problem.

    Spending time outside in nature is one of the most important things you can do for your health – and the health of your children. 

    Being in nature doesn’t just make you feel better, it actually makes you healthier. Need science to tell you its okay to skip obligations to spend time in the great outdoors? Here are 5 scientifically backed benefits to spending more time outside.

    1. Nature Eases Depression

    A recent study showed people who walked in nature were less stressed and had a better outlook on life – even after suffering from a difficult emotional blow such as the death of a loved one. A walk in nature likely won’t cure medical depression, but it will lift your mood and decrease your perception of stress.

    2. A Walk in Nature Increases Cognitive Function 

    Having trouble focusing on your work or stuck on a difficult task? A recent research report showed a direct link between interacting with nature and increased mental focus and clarity. Most noteworthy is the fact that subjects who walked around in an urban setting didn’t report the same benefits. (Meaning it is nature, not the walking that clears your mind!)

    3. You Will Sleep Better

    Your body ‘keeps time’ based upon exposure to sunlight. As sunlight decreases in the evening, your body gears up to produce melatonin, which makes you sleepy. Research shows spending too much time inside can disrupt your body’s inner clock and result in poor sleep patterns. The solution? Spending time in nature and exposing yourself to sunlight.

    4. It is Really Good for Your Immune System 

    In 2008, a group of researchers showed women between the ages of 25-43 in professional careers who spent three hours a day outside showed a marked increase in white blood cells, which fight viruses and tumors. Those additional white blood cells could be just what you need to avoid the plague going around the office. 

    5. Reduces Exposure to Air Pollution 

    You read that right – the air inside your home or office could be poisoning you. Going outside can reduce your exposure to indoor air pollutants- which the EPA reports can be up to 100 times worse than outdoor pollution in our area.

    Make a commitment to spend at least an hour outside in nature this week. Walk the trail here at Deer Hollow, ride your bike, play a game of football – just make sure to spend time outdoors and reap the health benefits.



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