Social Topics

Time Outdoors Can Boost Health

In our society today, many jobs require us to keep our butts in swivel chairs as we work beneath fluorescent lights. A large portion of these jobs demand the use of a computer as well. This keeps our eyes firmly glued to a screen and our wrists perched on a keyboard for long periods of time. Considering the average person spends 5 hours and 4 minutes watching television each day, the situation doesn’t improve much upon getting home from work. It is no wonder that depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue are common problems most people face. Yet, there is hope, and it comes in the form of trees, grass, sunshine, clouds, butterflies, squirrels, raindrops, and flowers…among a few others. That’s right, the outdoors, nature itself, can help improve your mental and emotional health.

Spending time in the great outdoors has been found to lower a person’s cortisol level. Cortisol is a hormone commonly used to measure stress. Heart rates are also found to be lower in those who spend a moderate amount of time outside each day. Some studies have discovered a noticeable difference in cortisol and heart rates between those who live in urban environments and those who live in rural ones. So, if you are feeling stressed out, go on a walk through a nature park or just around your neighborhood. Find a way to incorporate the outdoors into your daily routine in order to help prevent stress from accumulating in your life.

Nature is full of beauty and amazing sights. Whether it is the colors on display, the height of a tree, or the antics of a few critters, there is a definite “awe” inspired in us by the natural world. Researchers claim that experiencing awe can help give your brain a boost and fight mental fatigue.

Most of us are familiar with the fact exercise is good for our mental and emotional health. It helps lower both anxiety and depression. However, combining exercise with the outdoors is even more beneficial. It has been found that any green outdoor environment is also helpful in lowering anxiety and depression. Many professional therapists even recommend that patients get outside more in addition to any prescribed treatments.

Nature has also shown itself to possibly be helpful to children afflicted with ADHD. A study conducted in 2009 discovered that kids with ADHD had less trouble focusing after spending 20 minutes in the park. If this is true, then it is an inexpensive and easily sustainable tool in helping children with this issue.

Considering that spending time outside helps lower stress and anxiety, it comes as no surprise that it can also lower blood-pressure. A Japanese study found that walks in the forest can help alleviate blood-pressure by as much as 2%. Granted, walking on its own can help with this issue, but the walks in nature seem to lower it even more.

Well, there you have it, some examples of the restorative nature of…nature. I didn’t want to get bogged down in discussing any particular one too much. If you desire more information on any of the topics, I have included links to each one within the text. I hope you enjoyed the post and please feel free to express your thoughts in the comment section below.

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