Being outside provides the opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with nature. Outdoor activity has a lot of positive health benefits—both mental and physical.
In today’s world of technology and remote work, dedicating time to getting outdoors is crucial. Time spent outdoors can maximize our mental and physical health.
What Is Biophilia?
Biophilia is the term that points to the innate human drive to be around nature. The term was originally coined by psychologist Erich Fromm but was popularized in 1984 by Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard biologist and author of Biophilia.
Wilson’s book points to the idea that humans’ fascination with nature, such as our love of flowers, comes from an innate, evolutionary attraction. For example, the book explains that our fascination with seeing and smelling flowers could stem from the days of early civilization when blooming flowers signaled fruit would be coming soon.
From an evolutionary standpoint, the more connected humans were with plants, animals, and weather patterns, the more likely they were to survive. This was ingrained into humans on a deep level, which explains our fascination with nature to this day.
Nature and Mental Health
Several studies have shown human mental well-being improves when they are immersed in a natural environment. Some studies, such as this one, published in Landscape and Urban Planning in 2012, show that green spaces reduce stress. The study monitored cortisol levels (a stress hormone) in those who were exposed to varying levels of greenspace in their residential area.
The study showed a correlation between those exposed to a higher amount of greenspace and lower stress hormones. This study shows that stress hormones are reduced in those who spend more time outdoors in a green space.
Nature and Physical Wellbeing
Part of the hypothesis as to why outdoor time reduces stress and depression is that time outdoors is associated with an activity. Most people who go outside are performing movements, such as walking a dog or going for a run.
It’s well known that physical activity improves cardiovascular health and maintains a healthy BMI. It’s also been shown that physical activity can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, when you combine exercise and outdoor space, you are making the positive effects of each more potent.
It’s no doubt that time outdoors is good for our minds, bodies, and souls. It’s important to carve out dedicated time to get outside and enjoy the nature around you. Just a short walk can improve your mood and well-being. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to boost your health right now!