In a moment of stress, worry, or anxiousness, you have likely been told to go outside and get some fresh air. Multiple studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and others have shown that getting some fresh air isn’t just a cliché. There are the numerous physical and mental health benefits to spending time outside. From improved mental health and focus, to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, spending some time in the great outdoors as so much to offer.
Reduces stress levels. According to a study published by the NIH, spending time outdoors has been linked to lower cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone. Researchers have named the phenomena “nature therapy” and believe it can play an important role in preventive medicine. You don’t need to go on a week-long camping trip in the woods to reap the benefits though. Even going on a short walk at a local park will have a tremendous impact on your well-being.
Combats mental fatigue. Nature is considered a restorative environment because of its natural beauty, which can help boost your mood when you need it most. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, head outside for some fresh air.
Improves concentration. If you’re ever feeling stuck on a project or task, it may be time for a mental break. This is especially true for office workers who spend the majority of their day indoors surrounded by computer screens and artificial light. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram during your break, try going for a short walk around your building or even eating lunch outside. When you return to your desk later, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to focus on the task at hand.
Lowers blood pressure. In addition to the mental benefits of nature therapy, there are many physiological benefits as well. According to a study from the NIH, spending time outside can lower your pulse rate, blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system, which all have a relaxing effect on the body. These are also great ways to maintain your heart health and lower your risk for heart attack or stroke.