With our busy world, we often find ourselves stuck at home or at the office. Especially now, travel is often difficult, and it’s easy to feel like we just don’t have time to get outside. But, if it could improve your health, would that change your priorities? Nature is important, and not just to preserve wildlife and maintain a balance in the world as a whole. Being outside is good for you!
Did you know that people who spend time outside report feeling better emotionally? They do! Scientists have found evidence that spending time in nature – or even just looking at pictures of nature – makes us happier. People who spend time in nature report being happier overall and having more positive interactions. They also say they have fewer negative interactions and less stress. There’s even research that implies that children exposed to nature grow up to be better adjusted, happier, and that they have less depression, mood and eating disorders, and other psychological disorders as adults.
Spending time in nature benefits more than just our emotional state. Scientists study our time in nature and think that at least 2 hours outside every week has benefits. People who spend a lot of time outside say their health is better overall. There’s also evidence that these people aren’t as likely to have cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, other health problems. Scientists even think spending more time in nature can help us live longer!
Residential and Direct Exposure to Nature
There are two ways to expose yourself to nature: residential and direct exposure. Residential exposure means living near greener areas. Scientists have noticed that people who live around parks, woodlands, and beaches have lower probabilities of many diseases and have self-reported feeling better overall. But residential exposure isn’t possible for everyone, and it’s not the only way to get the benefit of nature.
Direct exposure is how much time you actually spend outside. Even if you live in the city, you can go to a park. You can take a day trip to a nature preserve. If you have friends who live in rural areas, you can even visit them for a cookout or hike to get direct exposure to nature.
However you can get outside, you’re benefiting yourself and your family’s health, happiness, and general wellbeing. So do what you can, and spend time with the plants and wildlife as much as possible!