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You won’t be surprised to hear that most people don’t get enough contact with nature anymore. Modern life is crammed full of obligations.
You spend most of your day indoors and spend your life pretty much focused on a screen, whether it’s your computer, your tablet or your smartphone. Sound familiar?
There is increasing scientific evidence that humans need a connection with the natural world. You’re hard-wired to want to be in nature, which is why it feels so good to get out for a walk whether it’s in the wilderness or your local park.
Here are four reasons backed by science to encourage you to go outside right now.
1. It’s good for your brain
Being in green spaces has been shown to improve cognitive function, concentration, and memory. Studies have shown that playing in the park reduces ADHD symptoms in children.
It’s well known that going for a walk can help you to unravel problems and come up with solutions.
2. It’s good for your body
Walking through forests doesn’t just feel good, it’s good for your heart. Japanese research showed a demonstrable decrease in stress hormone levels as well as lowering blood pressure, pulse, and heart rate variability.
Exercising outdoors is more enjoyable, meaning you’re more likely to do it! Access to green spaces lowers your risk of obesity in both children and adults. It even boosts your immune system.
3. It’s easier to practice mindfulness.
Choosing to take a digital detox and go outdoors is a mindful act in itself. And being out in the natural world makes it much easier to be aware of your surroundings.
Instead of being bombarded by artificial light and constant data updates, you use all your senses to notice birds singing or the sound of the wind blowing through the trees.
Your feet touch the cool grass or crunch through leaves. You suddenly notice how much green there is! And your mind can rest in the wonder of nature’s complexity.
Being in nature is a meditation all on its own.
4. Nature makes you happy
Notice how just thinking about being out in nature makes you feel good? Walking in the great outdoors has been shown to break the cycle of negative thinking, lower the risk of anxiety and depression, and improve mood and short-term memory.
And the exposure to natural rhythms of light and dark, away from the artificial light of screens, improves sleep, mood, and stress levels.