Nature has long been recognized as having a positive impact on physical and mental health.
In recent years, scientific studies have been conducted to understand the mechanisms behind this phenomenon and to quantify the benefits of nature exposure. Here, we will explore some of the key findings and highlight why nature is good for health.
First and foremost, nature exposure has been shown to reduce stress levels. A study conducted by the University of Michigan in the US found that spending just 20 minutes in a natural environment led to a significant decrease in the levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Similarly, a study conducted in Japan showed that walking in a forest environment led to a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, indicating reduced stress levels.
Nature also has a positive impact on mood and mental well-being. A study conducted by the University of Exeter found that exposure to green spaces, such as parks and gardens, was associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, a study conducted in Australia showed that spending time in nature led to increased feelings of happiness and life satisfaction.
In addition to its effects on mental health, nature exposure has also been shown to have physical health benefits. For example, a study conducted by the University of Illinois found that walking in a natural environment led to improved balance, coordination, and muscle strength in older adults. Additionally, a study conducted in Spain found that exposure to green spaces was associated with reduced obesity and improved physical fitness.
Nature also has a positive impact on cognitive function. A study conducted by the University of Kansas found that exposure to nature led to improved memory, attention, and concentration, whilst a study in Sweden found that spending time in nature was associated with increased creativity and problem-solving skills.
Finally, nature exposure has been shown to have benefits for sleep quality. A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley found that exposure to natural light, particularly during the day, was associated with improved sleep quality and reduced symptoms of insomnia.
Exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve mood and mental well-being, have physical health benefits, improve cognitive function, and improve sleep quality.
Whilst evidence can be provided a variety of studies, at Green Pathway we believe in getting people out for themselves and let them judge if they believe nature is good for their health. Whether it's a hike in the woods, a walk in the park, or just a few moments spent sitting in a green space, you're sure to reap the benefits, and we'd love to help you on your journey.
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