The Connection Between Nature and Well-Being
Whether it’s a stroll in the park or a bike ride through the woods, being outdoors can positively impact your well-being. There are numerous ways nature can boost your mood and overall health. Here are a handful of those benefits:
Improved Sleep Schedule
Your body naturally wants to follow a sleep schedule—called a circadian rhythm—meaning you should feel awake during the day and tired during the night hours. Direct sunlight affects your circadian rhythm more so than the artificial light you experience in a home or office setting. This is due to circadian rhythm being affected by exposure to direct sunlight. Step outside to improve your circadian rhythm and positively impact your sleep.
Boosted Immune System
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that you’re less likely to contract illnesses when you spend quality time outdoors. Living in a completely sterile environment, such as your home, can impact the immune system’s ability to recognize what is and isn’t dangerous. Regular exposure to microorganisms found in nature is essential to strengthening your overall immune function.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
Spending time in nature has cognitive benefits, such as a reduction in stress levels. Not only can time outside help with stress, but it also improves your ability to concentrate. A few moments enjoying the sunshine on a walk could help restore your tired and overworked brain. Next time you’re feeling stressed, try stepping outside.
Spending time in nature can help your overall lung functions. Walking amongst or looking at trees outdoors can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones, according to Healthline. Being outside also helps expel airborne toxins from your body. This all enables better breathing quality.
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Spending time outside can lower levels of depression and anxiety. Heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tensions have also all been shown to decrease as more time is spent outside, according to PubMed Central. Next time you’re feeling down or struggling with your mental health, consider the outdoors a tool at your disposal.
Even if you have a busy schedule, it’s important to squeeze in time to get outside and in nature. Your body can benefit even if it’s as simple as a short daily walk. Just a few hours a week can make a positive difference in your well-being.
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