Nature can impact our health and well-being.
Many of us live in artificial environments for most of the day. While some offices might make efforts to allow for more natural space, many of us are still bathed in fluorescent light with only sneak peeks through the windows of our superiors throughout the day. Coming home isn’t always better – weather dependent, it’s not uncommon to go straight from the car into the house. Maybe worst of all, we have smartphones and tablets that monopolize our attention and focus nonstop. This can have disastrous effects on our circadian rhythms , our internal clock that tells us when to go to bed and when to wake up, amongst other things. At the same time, many people spend hundreds—if not thousands—on supplements, vitamins, workout regiments, memberships, and more, all in the pursuit of wellness and healthy living.
What if we were to tell you that there is a completely natural way to reset your internal rhythms and increase wellness?
Spending time in nature is one of the best things to do for your health. And with the exception of whatever gear you need for your hobbies – hiking boots, beach towel, tents, or just walking shoes—it’s totally free.
"Nature itself is the best physician."
The benefits of outdoor leisure activities have wide-reaching effects. This USDA report ties time in nature to upstream efforts of preventing ill health from occurring (as opposed to downstream costs of healthcare – not unlike Benovate’s own efforts as well!). Just spending 15-30 minutes walking outside each day can drive health.
In this study, those who walked daily enjoyed:
Lower likelihood of cancer
Better bone density
More efficient kidneys, lymphatic system and joints
Decreased risk of intestinal cancer
Recalibrated fat storage
Additionally, a 1999 study from Duke University found that a brisk, 30-minute walk three times a week was more efficient in reducing depression symptoms than Zoloft—and walkers were less likely to suffer a relapse!
Walking is therapeutic in all parts of the world. In Japan, they add another natural focus to the walk by calling it shinrinyoku, or forest bathing. Studies done on people who camped for three nights in the forest saw interesting results. It’s thought that a monthly trip of this kind could provide assistance to cells that prevent cancer generation. Breathing in the natural essential oils of the trees and foliage can increase vitality and decrease depression, anxiety, and anger. In addition to these effects, research from the University of Colorado on hiking and camping shows that it’s also possible to reset your circadian rhythms with these activities.
That just by looking at tress, can reduce blood pressure and stress hormones.
Nature is so powerful that numerous studies have even shown just looking at trees in real life, or even pictures of trees, can reduce blood pressure and stress hormones. Studies of hospital patients also found that those with “green” views had shorter stays, needed less medication, and had fewer complications than those with no view of the outdoors. So if you’re feeling stressed at work or can’t seem to focus on a task, find some green space and give your brain a break. You’ll likely return to work feeling refreshed, more productive, and in a better mood.
As you can see, the health effects of nature are wide-ranging. Take advantage of the outdoors while you can for the physical, mental, and disease-reducing benefits. Now that spring is finally here, get outside and enjoy it! It can be as simple as taking a walk in the park to going on a weekend camping adventure.