We’re all told time and time again that getting outside as often as possible is good for us. That’s all well and good, but is there any real proof of it?
You better believe there is! For anyone who’s in need of more solid evidence to be convinced that nature truly does have the power to transform both the mind and body in the most positive ways imaginable, here are five incredible benefits you can experience from spending time in nature — with scientific proof to back it all up.
It enhances creativity
Next time you feel really stuck on trying to come up with a creative plan or decision to solve a particular problem, treat yourself to at a 20-minute break where you can leave your current environment and go for a walk outside in a park or along a street with lots of trees. In a series of four experiments, researchers found that walking alone boosted creativity in real time, but the most novel and highest quality results were seen when it was combined with outdoor stimulation.
It produces better fitness results
It’s worth ditching the treadmill or stationary bike in favor of doing the real thing outside. In one particular study, researches found that adults who exercised outside accumulated significantly more physical activity compared to those who exercised indoors only. The reason why this might be likely has to do with the changing conditions of an outdoor environment (wind, weather, terrain, altitude, etc.) that physically challenge the body more than the stabler conditions of an indoor environment.
It improves mood and self-esteem
If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, simply being in the presence of nature may be powerful enough to shift your mood and make you feel better about yourself. Researchers who conducted experiments on “green exercise” (physical activity in nature) discovered that every green environment improved both mood and self-esteem in study participants. The presence of water was found to result in even greater effects on mood and self-esteem.
It may be a natural anti-aging solution
Want to live longer and feel younger? There’s evidence that simply making a daily habit of getting out in nature can slow the aging process. A study from the Journal of Aging Health suggests that a daily outdoor habit correlated with reduced functional decline and improved health in older adults. Those who were 70 years old had fewer complaints of aches, pains, sleep problems, and other age-related health issues.
It boosts the immune system
It seems that nature really is the best medicine in more ways than just on a psychological level. According to a research-based report from the University of Illinois, spending time in nature can help protect the body against all sorts of sicknesses and diseases, including depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cancer, cardiovascular disease and others. As many as 21 possible pathways that link nature and human health could be traced from the research.
While there’s still a lot to be discovered about the relationship between nature and human health, including why it impacts us the way that it does, it’s probably safe to say that spending more time outside undoubtedly has a lot of real positive effects to offer us. Scientifically proven or not, the best way to determine how you might benefit is to get out there and experience it for yourself!