Winter has a way of keeping us indoors. The cold winds, the wet ground, and the low temperatures are probably to thank for that. But there’s always light at the end of a long Winter as Spring starts to poke its head around the corner. And that’s exactly what’s starting to happen. And what better time to get back out into nature and really soak up all the benefits (proven) of being outdoors.
Time in nature reduces stress
Studies have shown that being exposed to green outdoor spaces and nature immediately reduces the physiological markers of stress within the body. And this can makes us feel better pretty much instantly. It was shown to lower blood pressure as well as reduces cortisol within the body. In this study, those who walked around in a forest saw greater results than those who walked in the city, showing that it was nature that was making the shift rather than just being outside or walking.
Nature strengthens our immune system
A different study found a connection between individuals who visited forests compared to those visiting cities. Those who went to the forest showed an increase in natural killer (aka NK or K) cell activity. And additional visits continued this trajectory. These cells are very important in helping our immune system to function effectively.
Nature increases our physical activity
It was found in a study completed in Britain that those who are near nature more often are more likely to engage in physical activity. It was not about where they completed that activity and having more access. But rather the space encouraged them to workout more, wherever they did that.
Exposure to nature enhances mental health and mental productivity
A study done at the University of Michigan showed that walking outside was strongly connected to a lower level of stress but also lower level of depression. It has also been linked to our mental performance increasing both memory and attention span. This makes us more productive and better at work. Which hopefully means we can finish earlier and get back to nature faster.