Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature

nature health benefits

Far from the madding crowd

When was the last time you felt a whiff of cool breeze flowing down your hair? Or the sweet smell of the earth just after the rains. When was the last time you inhaled a chest-full of unpolluted air? Do you even remember the last time you took a peaceful stroll in the clean, unadulterated nature?

No?

How would you, when all you do is spend your days tied to a desk and the nights braving the traffic to reach home? The beginning of our species happened in this very lap of nature. The woods, the rivers, the trees- these were our original homes. Yet, it is indeed quite tragic that our generation has almost lost the primordial touch with nature.

Our reckless need to progress has made us destroy the greenery and calmness and replace it with blaring horns and poisoned air. Lost in this concrete jungle, our society has collectively forgotten what it is to be in our most natural home.

All this talk of nature might sound a tad bit poetic and philosophical to most. But it’s not just the arts that are telling you to go and dwell in nature for a while. Numerous scientific studies have revealed that being in nature has remarkable positive effects on our bodies.

The sunshine, the fresh air, and the clear skies do more than just turning you into a momentary poet. So what are these amazing health benefits of being in nature? Read below to find out.

Wanna know how being out in the greens can boost your health? Read more…

1. Exercise and green therapy

Mother Nature doesn’t come with fast-moving automobiles or elevators. Which means if you aim to cherish the beauty of nature, in the most natural form you will have to move around by foot. You can hike, walk, trek, or just stroll.

Or take a plunge in the lake.

The bottom line is going outdoors in nature will bring you the benefits of your expensive gym and pool, completely free of cost.

You get to move those muscles which have remained dormant for a substantial amount of time, thanks to our heavily sedentary lifestyle.

Sitting is called as the new smoking. Why, you ask?

Well because we are sitting almost 10 hours a day, which is shockingly more than how much we sleep. Our collective lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits are increasing our risk of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes at an alarming rate.

Devices such as TV, laptops, smartphones etc are tying us down.

The remedy? Go out and get moving.Your body is not designed to handle a sedentary lifestyle. Going out in the greens might be the most exciting way to do that.

2. How clean is your air?

outdoor air pollutants

“Canadian start-up sells bottled air to China” – This headline is not from a post-apocalyptic movie but from two years ago when China’s air pollution levels were off the charts.

Clean air, one of the most natural and freely available resources, is now a scarcity. The air we breathe is riddled with pathogens and toxic metals.

Every second, we are feeding our lungs with lead, arsenic, mercury and a thousand other carcinogenics.

Well, these all are known facts. But what still remains scarily unknown is the level of pollution in our indoor air. We all complain about the air outside, yet inside, in our very homes, the air we breathe is toxic too.

There are numerous elements which are polluting the indoor air. Starting from cigarette smoke to animal dander, from asbestos roofing to fumes from paint- our lungs are not safe even indoors.So what can you do to please your lungs?

Either buy the ridiculously priced “canned” air or take a nature hike. Away from the pollution of both your indoors and outdoors, you finally get to breathe pure oxygen.

Pure and safe air, free from adulteration is linked to healthier lungs, ergo healthier heart and decreased chances of respiratory illnesses.

3. Out in the nature with Vitamin D

indoor air pollutants

Vitamin D is probably the only essential nutrient that is synthesized in our body upon exposure to sunlight.

Our diet hardly meets its recommended dosage. If you still don’t know the facts about this miracle vitamin, here is the list:

  • Whatever calcium we consume, it gets absorbed by our body only with the help of Vitamin D.
  • It makes your teeth stronger and improves your body’s blood circulation.
  • Vitamin D boosts our natural immunity and reduces the recurring cold and flu episodes.
  • Your skin needs Vitamin D to be free from rashes and allergies.
  • It reduces your chances of getting type 2 diabetes and stroke.
  • Certain studies have also linked getting ample Vitamin D with reduced chances of cancer.

While the benefits of this nutrient are much more than these, you still get the idea. Taking a morning walk in the greens will bring to you the added benefits of increased Vitamin D levels.

So, for the sake of stronger bones and a healthier heart, stop everything and step outside.

4. Green brain; clean brain

psychological benefits walking

A walk in nature feels soothing and refreshing. For some strange reason, you feel calmer, happier, and mentally rejuvenated.

Well, once you understand the science behind it you find it weird at all. The reason why nature is the ultimate antidote to our modern lifestyle is hard-wired in our evolution.

Being in nature puts our pre-frontal cortex (the front part of the brain) to rest. Our body’s biology is indelibly rooted in nature.

There is a direct link between our cognitive functions and how close we are to nature because frankly, that’s where we came from.

According to a research conducted by students of Stanford University, taking a hike in nature can bring down stress, anxiety, and depression.

Natural surroundings have a holistic effect on our brains. Starting from boosting our short-term memory to enhancing our creativity– a walk in nature makes it all possible. By cutting out stress, it resets our minds making us feel mentally invigorated.

This results in us gaining sharper focus and higher levels of concentration. So next time you feel down or mentally-fatigued, try going back to the wilderness for some time.

5. For your eyes only

Computer vision syndrome

What do you get when you coop up excessively indoors, spend a substantial time staring at screens, and never go outdoors for a walk?

An entire generation with poor eyesight.

Studies indicate that our unhealthy obsession with locking ourselves indoors has resulted in widespread near-sightedness or myopia.

There are children who have never experienced playing in the open air and adults who seldom step-outside in nature.

And to add to this, rampant computer, TV, and smartphone use has resulted in yet another lifestyle disease called as the Computer Vision Syndrome.

Eye defects are so common these days that people no longer consider it as a “defect”. 1 out of every 3 Americans is near-sighted. And this figure is more alarming when you consider Asians.

Studies have indicated a strong link between how less a child spends time outdoors to his/her rapidly deteriorating eyesight. Conversely, spending time outdoors, even as less as a few hours per week, has proved to be helpful in dropping myopia rates.

Whether it’s the natural light or the open spaces, human eyes tend to accommodate better when regularly exposed to nature. So, if you feel that your eyesight is slowly giving up, try taking regular walks in wide green spaces.

6. Nature’s lullaby

Our modern lifestyle can be blamed for resulting in a 2-hour delay in our body’s natural circadian clock. This is because we are hardly exposing ourselves to the natural daylight, and our evenings and nights are interrupted by the glow of artificial lights.

This glow from laptops and smartphones or even the street-lights interfere with our natural melatonin production. And most directly impacts our sleep cycle.

The net result can be observed in the fact that we have trouble falling asleep and mostly wake-up exhausted.

How being in nature can benefit you in this matter?

A team of researchers took to the woods to reveal this mystery. Just by being in nature for a week, without any flashlights or glow from smartphones, the group saw a two-hour improvement in their sleeping schedules.

This and many other studies suggest that by exposing ourselves to the natural cycles of light we can ensure deeper and better sleep.

Countless bodily functions are related to sleep. Which means that any defect in the amount of sleep we get can have devastating side-effects on our overall health.

So you can count this as one more solid reason to sleep under the stars.


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