Published on July 16, 2019
The link between nature and health
Getting outside on a sunny day can instantly improve your mood, but why is that? Because there is a strong connection between our health and time spent in nature. Read on to learn about nature’s positive benefits.
Do you know that feeling of calm that comes from a walk on a beautiful day? The sound of birds in the trees. The gentle sun on your face. The beauty of greenery around you. It turns out all of these things positively contribute to your overall health.
Nature is proven to impact both our mental and physical health so, what are some things that might happen when you step outside?
Reduce stress and anxiety
Turns out nature is actually therapeutic. The calming sounds outside–even if it’s just silence–can help lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol1. The beauty of nature can also help interrupt negative thoughts and distract you from worrying.
Improve heart health
In connection with reduced stress, walking outside can produce positive benefits on your cardiovascular health. Research show that both exercising in forests and simply sitting looking at trees reduces blood pressure2.
When was the last time you stepped away from your screen to solve a big problem at work? It turns out that green spaces may actually help restore your concentration and stimulate creative thinking, which could help you be more productive. The Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) foundation recommends spending time outside to improve ADHD Symptoms3. There’s even research that suggests time in nature may reduce symptoms of ADHD4.
Have you ever had trouble hiding your smile on a sunny day? Walking in forest environments boosts the production of the “feel good” hormone, dopamine5. This means being out in nature can promote happiness. Research shows that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing6.
There’s plenty of research that supports the many benefits of nature on our health, so get out there and get active
- Thompson, C. W., Roe, J., Aspinall, P., Mitchell, R., Clow, A., Miller, D. (2012) More Green Space is Linked to Less Stress in Deprived Communities: Evidence from Salivary Cortisol Patterns. Landscape and Urban Planning. 105(3): 221-229.
- Lee J, Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Ohira T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. Effect of forest bathing on physiological and psychological responses in young Japanese male subjects [published correction appears in Public Health. 2019 Apr;169:201]. Public Health. 2011;125(2):93-100. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2010.09.005
- Spend Time Outside to Improve ADHD Symptoms - CHADD. CHADD. https://chadd.org/adhd-weekly/spend-time-outside-to-improve-adhd-symptoms/. Published 2017. Accessed September 1, 2021.
- Kuo FE, Taylor AF. A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: evidence from a national study. Am J Public Health. 2004;94(9):1580-1586. doi:10.2105/ajph.94.9.1580
- Li Q, Otsuka T, Kobayashi M, et al. Acute effects of walking in forest environments on cardiovascular and metabolic parameters. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(11):2845-2853. doi:10.1007/s00421-011-1918-z
- White, M.P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J. et al. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Sci Rep 9, 7730 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3