10 Reasons Why Getting Outdoors is Good for Your Health

10 Reasons Why Getting Outdoors is Good for Your Health


As humans we are drawn to nature. That plant in your office or home is you trying to bring nature in-doors with you. Science is now catching up and finding out why we love being out in nature so much.  Here are just a few of the top reasons to make getting outside part of your regular routine:

1.  A quick memory boost

Studies have compared walking among trees to walking down a city street using a memory test and found that those who walked among the trees did 20% better on the same test than they did before. Even in those who suffer with depression, walking in nature versus an urban setting had a better working memory.

2.  It helps your heart

Not only does being in nature feel good and warm your heart, it is quite literally good for it. In Japan there is shinrin-yoku, also known’s as Japanese forest immersion or forest bathing.  Research on this practice, where people will just sit in the forest and breathe in the sounds and experience, has shown that is lowers blood pressure, heart rate as well as decreasing stress hormones (which puts extra pressure on your ticker).

3.  Less stress

As we just talked about – being in nature reduces the production of stress hormones. Some studies have shown that students who spend 2 nights sleeping in the forest had lower levels of cortisol, that pesky stress hormone, than those in the city. Even a view of nature at work, such as office window overlooking a park, is shown to be associated with lower stress and more job satisfaction.

4.  Less inflammation

Inflammation has become the new catch phrase – it is the process our body goes through when we are in pain, are injured or sick. It is an important process but when it gets out of hand is when there is trouble and can lead to autoimmune conditions, increased pain and other health concerns. Studies have shown more time in the forest showed lower levels of inflammatory markers, even in the elderly, as well as a reduction in pain experienced.

5.  Improved Eyesight

We all know the dangers of too much screen time, so how do we combat that? You guessed it – go outdoors. A 2012 Review of data in children showed that increasing time outside was very beneficial in reducing risk of nearsightedness (myopia) in children. 

6.  Better concentration

Lots of people want to be improve their ability to focus and motivation for tasks. Getting outside is one quick way to do that! Even a view of nature can help boost attention. The effect is so strong it has even been shown to help kids diagnosed with ADHD focus more after spending only 20 minutes in a park.

7.  Better immune function

This is an area where more research is being done. So far studies in Japan have found that in areas that are more wooded have lower mortality rates from several cancers. Spending time in nature seems to boost proteins that help cells fight off infection and stay healthy, and the effects may last upwards of 7 days. 

8.  Better weight management

Studies have shown that for both adults and kids, spending time in nature lowers risk of obesity. Part of this is due to an increase in activity when we are outside, but also because of the decrease in cortisol which is associated with obesity. Other studies have shown that spending time in nature decreases blood sugar, which also helps to keep weight at a healthy level.

9.  A boost in energy

Being outside in nature helps bring you back from mental fatigue. The effect is so strong that even looking at pictures of nature can give you that boost. Part of it is the exposure to what is termed a restorative environment, but studies also have shown that it can be from the feeling of awe we get from the beauty of nature that gives us that perk.
And finally:

10.  Better mental health

As we know anxiety, depression and other mental health issues seem to be on the rise. Studies have repeatedly shown the benefit in getting outdoors in the benefits on mood and even self-esteem. This is from the decrease in stress we already talked about, and the effect is even stronger when coupled with exercise.  Walking in a forest – great way to bring down feelings of anxiety and a bad mood, and to make that effect even stronger add in a lake or river.
So there you have it, just 10 of the many ways being outdoors is great for your health.
Now put down the device, get outside and find out what other health improvements are waiting for you!


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