It's officially spring and science says we need to get outside.
Those of us who spend time in the great outdoors know about its powerful benefits on our mind and body. Whether it’s a short hike, a weekend camping trip, or months of travel, we value our experiences in nature and they make us feel better. It feels so good to spend time outside that we’re almost addicted to it. We crave travel and adventure.
Recent studies show us that nature decreases stress
The Japanese have a term for these experiences called shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”. The studies have some participants go for a walk in nature while others go for a walk in a more urban setting. Both walks were the same difficulty and distance.
During the walks, the participants had their blood pressure and heart rates monitored. They were then required to fill out questionnaires about their moods and other psychological signs or symptoms.
The result shows us that, after walking in nature, people reportedly felt less stress and anxiety. This was compounded by the fact that the nature-walking group had lower blood pressure and heart rates. Pretty awesome, huh?
You’re less likely to be overweight.
Getting into the great outdoors has proven to combat obesity in both adults and kids. This is most likely due to increased physical activity. Most of the time when we are heading out into nature, we end up doing a little hiking or even walking.
You’ll boost your immune system.
The act of getting outside improves the functions of our immune systems. It helps our natural killer cells and enhances anti-cancer proteins. If the simple act of going outside can help our defense of illness and cancer, count us in.
You’ll be more creative.
We are constantly bombarded with marketing and advertising. Every single day the average person sees hundreds of ads. There are a lot of scientists that believe our brains can’t handle this overload and that it leads to burn out and mental fatigue.
One way to counteract this fatigue is to get outside. A 2012 study showed that a group of test subjects was better at solving creative puzzles after taking a four day hiking trip. The control group who attempted to solve the same puzzles while waiting to take the hike performed worse – 47% worse.