Connecting with Nature: the Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors

Spending time in nature is one of the easiest ways to hit the reset button. In fact, a recent study showed that spending just twenty minutes outside can significantly affect how you feel, with 64% of participants claiming an increase in mood and clarity after being outdoors.

We might attribute part of this to simply leaving the environment you’ve been in and looking at things in a different light. That shift alone can jump-start our brains after we’ve been in one spot for a long time. It also might be due to soaking in Vitamin D from the sun’s rays. Regular sun exposure can increase our moods, help us feel more alert, and increase our immune systems.

The fresh air can also cycle through our lungs and bodies, promoting more efficient sleep and less brain fog. Experts at Stanford Medicine claim that spending more time in nature helps to regulate your body temperature and resets your body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep.

Since we are typically active when we are outdoors, we also tend to burn more calories the more time we spend outside. Even spending ten minutes in nature a day can be a boost for your health.

We have studied the benefits of spending time in nature for years. The Japanese practice of “forest bathing” is the art of breathing in your surroundings and allowing stressors of the day to float away. Experts state that spending time in nature reduces cortisol levels, which are linked to mental and physical health. A natural amount of cortisol is essential for our functioning, but elevated levels can lead to issues with anxiety, depression, and concentration problems.

Focusing on the social aspect of spending time in nature, being out and about, increases your interaction with others. You might also find a group of people who enjoy the same activities as you. You might join a frisbee golf league or take up hiking with a local nature group. Gardening, geocaching, playing games, or simply sitting in a swing and taking in nature are all activities you can do to take advantage of the great outdoors.

It’s thought that two hours a week spent in nature can benefit you tremendously. Of course, the more time you take advantage of the fresh air and sun, the more increases in the mood you will see.

As you head outside, you don’t necessarily need a plan, but you should have water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes. Enjoy exploring, breathe deeply, and don’t forget to have fun.