By: Emily Johnston
Most of us spend our time in urban areas. Worktime and downtime alike take place on the digital plane. The truth is, we belong in nature. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a walk through the park? As you are sitting by a waterfall? When you are fishing on a lake?
It’s a well-known fact that our connection with nature is innately linked to our personal wellbeing. Here are 5 reasons to inspire you to get out there.
1) Stress Decreases in Nature
The pressures of everyday life seem to subside when we enter the natural world. No more deadlines, no more social expectations and when you have no service, you cannot be distracted by your news feed.
Studies have found that increased time spent outdoors helps to decrease cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone often used as a stress marker by healthcare professionals. Studies have also shown that hospital patients who have a nature view tend to heal more quickly and experience reduced pain levels. Next time you are feeling stressed or low, try some eco-therapy.
2) Concentration and Memory Improvement
“Interacting with nature can have similar effects as meditating”, researcher says. The University of Michigan conducted a study to test the theory that time spent in nature increases memory and focus. The participants who walked through a green area rather than a cityscape, showed a 20 percent short term memory increase when asked about their walk.
Interestingly, studies have shown that children with ADHD were found to have seen a decrease in symptoms and an increase in concentration after only 20 minutes outside. Racing thoughts and trouble focusing? We recommend some fresh air!
3) Strengthens Your Immune System
When spending time in nature our body shifts from fight or flight to more of a “rest and digest” mode. This allows our body the rest it needs to invest energy into your immune system.
A Japanese study showed women who spent six hours in the woods over a two -day period increased their white blood cells, which helps fight viruses. The boost lasted about a week after the experiment.
4) It Keeps You Youthful
Going outside everyday maybe the key to aging gracefully. One study showed those in their 70’s who spent time outdoors everyday had fewer complaints of common aging pains (aching bones, poor sleep) than those who didn’t.
5) Boosts Mental Health for Urban Dwellers
More than 50 percent of people now reside in urban areas. By 2050, this proportion will be 70 percent. Urbanization is associated with increased levels of mental illness, but it is not yet clear why. Ruminations or repetitive thoughts focused on the negative aspects of self were shown to markedly decrease by spending 90 minutes in nature.
We are lucky enough at Mar Mac Lodge to live and work in one of the most beautiful natural environments on earth. Our summers are filled with shimmering blue waters, rolling green hills and starry night skies. After a winter spent in the city, we cannot wait to get back to our little piece of nature.
Do you notice a difference in your well-being after spending time outside? Let us know.