5 SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF BEING OUTDOORS
Friday 02 October 2020
It’s officially sweater season! Take a break and enjoy the fall foliage
A new research study suggests that exposure to nature and green spaces reduces the risk of stress, insomnia, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Here are five proven reasons why.
In Japan, “forest bathing” is a popular weekend activity, where people spend time walking around, sitting, or lying down in a forest. Research shows that organic compounds with antibacterial properties released from trees known as phytoncides, can strengthen our immune systems and improve overall health.
Unlike trekking, forest bathing or “ecotherapy” involves meandering through trails without a destination, all while tuning into the smells, sounds, and textures around you. Find time this weekend to head to a nearby park or forest to enjoy the autumn leaves.
The outdoors provides many opportunities for physical activity to promote healthy living. Nature activities such as trekking, fishing, camping, swimming, or canoeing give our bodies the movement it needs to stay resilient. A study by the Environmental Health Research confirmed that up to 30 percent of people who visit a park engage in moderate-intensity physical activity just by being there. Try out the ultimate fun fall checklist for outdoor activities to do with your kids and family.
Today, healthcare professionals are prescribing “nature pills” as they carry a measurable effect in energising the mind and body. One study found that participants’ mental energy bounced back after merely looking at pictures of nature and green spaces. A second study revealed that setting aside at least 20 minutes a day to walk or be surrounded by nature will significantly lower cortisol levels, our primary stress hormone.
Try to get outside and go stargazing in the crisp fall air or have a picnic in the leaves with your kids. You could also spend the weekend visiting a farmer’s market for this season’s colourful produce, such as apples, pumpkins, and squash.
Disconnecting from our devices and reconnecting with nature gives our minds and bodies the chance to reset, allowing our creative juices to flow. A body of research on the impact of nature on creativity suggests that outdoor exposure evokes curiosity, translating into new and innovative ways of thinking. Today’s office buildings, for example, are considering green spaces as an essential design component for future of architecture.
Especially in children, science shows that exposure to nature fights off early signs of vision loss. The three-year study reveals that outdoor activity reduces myopia’s risk in kids between ages 6 and 12 years old. Grab a pair outdoor shoes and take your kids on an autumn treasure hunt or an apple orchard adventure. Click here to discover more child-friendly nature activities for this fall season.