hawaii woman hiking cliffShutterstock

 

Spending time in forests , hiking in mountains, and time being outside can lead to significant health benefits. Studies have shown that walking in the wild can improve blood pressure, lift mental health issues, and reduce cancer probability. So seek some time “forest-bathing” to improve your health.

Many people spend workdays indoors under fluorescent sunrises and in front of computers, then return home to bask in the light of television screens.

But research advocates it’s important to make time to get outdoors as well, since doing so is beneficial — maybe essential — for human health. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should go outside and experience the natural world.

 

emergency fire starter for hiking camping birding

 

In her book, “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Imaginative, ” (see below) journalist Florence Williams writes that she started investigating the health benefits of the outdoors after moving from the mountainous area of Boulder, Colorado, to what she describes as “the anti-Arcadia that is the nation’s capital”: Washington, DC.

 

 

“I appeared disoriented, devastated, chilled, ” she wrote. “My mind had problems focusing. I couldn’t finish thoughts. I couldn’t make decisions and I wasn’t keen to get out of bed.”

We don’t all need to move to beautiful places like Boulder — there are good reasons for many of us to live in bigger cities.

 


But humans do need to spend time in natural environments if they want to improve their physical and mental health. That could represent taking advantage of hiking roads near your home, playing in the snow, swimming in the oceans, or merely spending time every week in a neighbourhood park.

Here are 3 reasons set out above it’s so important.

Amble in nature could improve your short-term memory. Flickr/ Carlos Andres Reyes

Several analyzes show that nature walks have memory-promoting benefits.

In one examine, University of Michigan students were given a brief memory evaluation, then divided into two groups. One group took a walk in a forest, and another took a amble down a city street. When the participants returned and did the test again, those who had gone through the trees did roughly 20% percent better than they had first time. The people who had taken in city sights did not improve.

A similar survey on depressed men found that forest walk boosted the mood much more than walks in urban environments.

Being outdoors has a definite de-stressing result.

Shutterstock/ solarsven

 

Something about being outside changes the physical formulation of stress in the body.

One study found that students camping in the woods for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone often used as a marker for stress — than those who spent that time in a city.

In another study, researchers noted a decline in both the heart rates and high levels of cortisol of participants who spent time in the forest compared to those in the city.

“Stressful commonwealths can be alleviated by forest rehabilitation, ” health researchers inferred.

Among office workers, even a view of nature out a opening is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.

Spending time outside diminishes inflammation.

Aidan Jones/ flickr

When inflammation goes into overdrive, it’s associated with a wide range of ailments, including autoimmune conditions, inflammatory bowel infection, feeling, and cancer. Devoting time in nature is perhaps one way to help keep that in check.

In one study, those individuals who devoted time in the woodland had lower levels of inflammation than those who spent time in the city. In another, elderly patients who had been cast on a weeklong trip into the wood depicted reduced signs of inflammation. There were some indications that the woodsy stroll had a positive effect on those patients’ hypertension levels as well.

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