How long do you spend in nature? Most of us probably not a lot. Why should we, right? Everything we need is in our homes. But going outside, surrounding ourselves in nature, has many benefits. Too many to count.
We have become a society that relies on the inside and are have become dependant on our homes.
However, like every other species in the world, the outside is our true home. The real world is outside. You may think that you can discover the world from your phones, from social media. You cannot.
There are two main benefits of being in the natural environment:
Physical health– nature seems to have a healing power and help fight and prevent many diseases.
Mental Health- this includes your mood, your feelings and even the way your brain works.
Everyone now prefers to watch YouTube or Netflix rather than discover the world beyond their house gate. It’s becoming rarer to find people walking in nature and if you do, it’s mostly the older generation. That needs to change. You don’t have to go to the Amazon rainforest or scuba dive in the coral reefs to experience the benefits of nature. Even going to local parks or forest trails near you has tremendous effects. The key like everything is consistency.
We can’t argue that nature is not good for you. Studies year after year are showing new ways that spending time in nature can enhance your health. Nature is often overlooked by many. Some might even argue that it’s a waste of time.
But some of you might already know the importance of it but like many, you don’t actually spend time in nature. This could be for various reasons, one being, you just don’t have the time. Hopefully, we will encourage you and motivate you to take that first step. Trust me you will see improvements.
- Your body heals faster in nature. Recovering patients are often told and encouraged to go outside as it often speeds up the healing process.
- You can reduce the chance of developing eyesight problems such as myopia and hypermetropia.
- It can reduce chronic pain, cardiac illnesses, and helps fight and prevent terminal illnesses.
- Studies also show it helps optimize your nervous system.
- People who connect with nature often have a lower BMI and feel less fatigued.
- Exposure to trees can also increase energy levels.
Research in Japan has shown the good that forest bathing does. Surrounding yourself with a forest has proven all of the above and also proved it can boost the immune system and improve sleep.
There are probably more benefits that we do not even know about yet.
The impact on your brain
Being in nature stimulates your brain. It can improve your memory, attention span and focus.
Many artists in the past have taken inspiration from nature. Generally, people seem to be more creative when they spend time in natural surroundings. Creativity comes from experiencing new things and this is one of the best ways to do it.
The impact on your mind
By the year 2050, 68% of the world will be living in urban areas. Interaction between people and nature will decrease even more.
- There have been many studies showing how being in nature can affect your mood. Positively.
- A not so surprising fact is that depression is more common in urban areas, in cities. One of the factors for this is the lack of vegetation. Why do you think the happiest places in the world are those surrounded by trees and wildlife?
- It has been shown it reduces the stress hormone cortisol. This is one of the reasons, people in cities suffer from depression. Urban areas, with a few exceptions, make it hard for people to have a healthy mental wellbeing.
Importance of nature during COVID-19
Staying healthy is a priority right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying physically healthy is key as we don’t have access to gyms. Even taking a walk every day is an excellent way to stay active and healthy. Being in quarantine for several months surely put a strain on the mental health of many. Staying with our thoughts all day is not easy for everyone.
It’s important now than ever to reconnect with nature.
During this lockdown many are not leaving their homes and haven’t seen the sun in 2 months. To stay healthy and sane we need to explore the world around us. Of course while staying safe and social distancing.
The Modern Age
Too many of us are addicted to screens.
Parents should encourage children to go outside. Nowadays, more and more children are staying in the comfort of their homes with new advances in technology.
It angers me to think that children now care more about staying and playing video games instead of going outside. Playing outside and exploring the surroundings and the world is one of the main things we cherish. Not only is it more fun, but it also offers many more benefits. Every time you go to nature you discover something new, something you never noticed before.
Who is going to remember in 20 years the time they stayed in their room and scrolled through social media? No one.
Let’s forget about our phones. Ignore all the notifications. See how many days you can go without a phone.
But for how long should I be going outside?
Many ask but how long do they have to walk in nature.
Well firstly walking in nature should not feel like a burden. It’s something that you should want to and the more the better.
But for those who feel they have a strict schedule and do not have time to spend hours and hours among the trees, 2 hours per week is the minimum. This is if you want to start seeing improvements. You could do this by going outside for around 20 minutes each day or you could go out for 2 hours once a week.
The benefits of nature are clear. There are no downsides. You can’t spend too much time in nature. Time in nature is never time wasted. Just be sure to get away from busy roads and away from urban life.
So the next time you have some time to spare, step out of your house. Breathe in some fresh oxygen. Afterall nature is where we belong.
Cities need to learn to integrate the natural environment for everyone’s sake. Actually ignore that. We need to integrate cities into nature.
If you don’t have 20 minutes to spare maybe you should rethink the way you live. Going outside as much as you can on a weekly basis is the key.
It’s important to put your health first.