Being outdoors isn’t just fun, it’s good for the mind, body and soul. In fact, spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing, Nature Research reports.
Taking the time to enjoy the wonders of nature will not only provide clarity to the mind and fresh air to the lungs, it’ll strengthen your immune system, improve your mental health, and give you a better quality of sleep.
Here we explain the top ways that being amongst nature will give a boost to your health.
#1 – It strengthens immunity
Spending time outdoors is an easy way to boost your immune system. This is mainly because plants emit airborne chemicals known as phytoncides. When you’re out in nature, you’re able to breathe in plenty of these amazing compounds. As a result, your white blood cell levels increase.
White blood cells are key features in a strong immune system. They move through your body looking for harmful viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, and fight them off. Spending regular time in nature, therefore, strengthens your immunity and lowers your risk of ill health.
#2 – It improves your mental health
It’s well known that relaxing in nature has powerful positive effects on mood and mental health. In particular, spending time in nature has been proven to lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body.
A Japanese nature therapy study found that the cortisol levels of 420 people who spent time in 35 forests were 12.4% lower than the control group who spent time in an urban setting. Additionally, the forest dwellers benefited from a 1.4% decrease in systolic blood pressure, an almost 6% drop in heart rate, and a 56% increase in immune function. And better yet, these impressive results are long lasting: participants still had a 23% increase in immune function one month after the study.
#3 – It fixes your sleep schedule
Camping outdoors overnight is one of the best ways to get the most out of everything the natural world has to offer. In particular, sleeping outdoors can help improve your sleep quality by resetting your body clock back to its natural sleep rhythms.
Unfortunately, given that humans spend most of their time exposed to artificial light, which interferes with the circadian rhythm (or sleep pattern), this is one of the main contributors to poor quality sleep.
Camping is an opportunity to shun artificial light, increase your exposure to natural light, and restore your circadian rhythm. Ultimately, this results in better sleep quality that leaves you feeling well rested in the morning.
These are just three of the ways that spending regular time in nature is essential for good mental and physical health. Whether it’s a quick walk or a weekend camping trip, nature will undoubtedly help to heal your body and mind.