The beauty of outdoors naturally encourages us to go outside, inhale fresh air, listen to birds, or watch the wind animate tree branches. There is scientific proof that spending 15 minutes viewing trees and 15 minutes walking amongst trees has physiological benefits. Here are the top 5 reasons to spend time outside to improve your health and wellness.
#1 – Improved Stress
Spending 20 minutes amongst trees is proven to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.
#2 – Increased Heart Health
Forests contain a higher amount of oxygen compared to urban spaces.
#3 -Boosted Immunity
Trees produce essential oils that improve our immune systems by increasing natural killer cell activity for more than 30 days after a trip to the forest!
#4 -Decreased Depression
Walking 15 minutes amongst trees can improve depression, tension, and anger compared to same 15 minute walk in the city
#5 – Improved Sleep
There is a definite relationship between spending 20 minutes amongst trees and feeling relaxed. When our bodies are relaxed, we can fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.
What is Forest Bathing?
Inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is an outdoor healing practice. Unlike a nature walk to identify birds or trees, forest bathing is time spent in woods experiencing the pleasure of nature through all of our senses to promote positive mental state and enhance physical health. Can’t get outside? Don’t worry! A small study compared people after surgery recovering in a room with a window with people recovering from the same surgery in a room without a window. The study showed that people who could see nature recovered more quickly and needed less powerful pain medication.