5 Proven Health Benefits of Nature

Personally, I feel most alive when I'm outdoors, but I know nature isn't everyone's cup of tea. Additionally, spending too much time in nature can actually be harmful to some people, according to recent research on the subject. In fact, a recent study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggests that excessive treatment of nature can actually cause people with neurotic personality types more stress than city life. That said, whether you thrive in urban environments, dream of one day becoming a cabin-dwelling hermit, or (like me) fall somewhere in the middle between these two extremes, you should still try to get out more— Because there is a symbolic mountain. Numerous studies have proven that nature benefits our physical and mental health.

Nature is essentially free medicine when it comes to mental health. Not only do walks in nature encourage positive thinking, but multiple studies have shown that spending more time outdoors can help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Best of all, exercising outdoors does make people feel easier, making people want to exercise more often, and sunlight increases a man's libido.

So whether you live in a small studio in Manhattan and absolutely love it, or you spend most of your downtime on your front porch enjoying the summer breeze, you might want to consider upping your natural prescription—because consumption There are some serious health benefits to spending more time in nature.

1. Walking in a natural environment can reduce negative thinking

As USA Today reported last July, walking in nature can help our overstimulated, stressed-out brains focus on the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. Apparently, when we immerse ourselves in nature, all that natural beauty reduces rumination—a sticky thought loop in which we can’t seem to stop dwelling on all of our negative attributes and general awfulness Condition. Since rumination can ultimately lead to depression, the fact that nature walks can be effective in reversing rumination should not be discounted.

A study of 38 participants published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year by Stanford University researchers found that "people who walked in a natural area for 90 minutes had better health outcomes than those who walked in a natural area for 90 minutes." High-traffic urban environments show reduced activity in brain regions associated with key factors in depression."

Of course, this doesn't mean that nature is a panacea for depression and negative thinking, but it does mean that spending time outdoors can reduce your risk of depression. If you currently suffer from depression, spending time in nature may be an effective addition to your treatment. This brings us to...

2. Nature can act as an all-natural antidepressant

Unless you spend most of your time in a cave or a basement apartment (honestly, is there really a difference between the two?) then you've probably experienced nature's mood-boosting qualities. Many occasions. Personally, I have always relied heavily on nature to relieve anxiety, and I also rely on nature to help me combat situational depression. You see, research shows that ecotherapy (also known as green therapy, earth-centered therapy, and naturopathy) is an effective way to protect your mental health.

One such study, conducted at the University of Essex and the results of which were published by mental health organization Mind, showed that walking in nature reduced subjects' depression scores by 71%. In contrast, the study showed that only 45% of participants who chose a walk in a shopping mall instead of a natural landscape had lower depression scores. Even worse, 22 percent of mall walkers actually showed increased depression scores. (In the end, malls proved really frustrating.)

3. Nature really makes people want to exercise more

If you're like me and enjoy hiking and walking, you probably don't need anyone to tell you that exercising outdoors is about 1,000 times more fun. But whether you enjoy the outdoors or not, research shows that in many ways it's even better than going to the gym.

As the Huffington Post reported in 2014, research shows that exercising outdoors can actually make exercise feel easier, mostly because green is basically magical. One such study, conducted by the University of Essex, tested the effect of the color green on a group of cyclists. Cyclists were asked to ride in front of green, gray and red images and then asked about their experiences. It turns out that “those who exercised in front of the green showed less emotional disturbance and reported feeling less energetic while riding their bikes.” Beyond that, other research shows that people who exercise outdoors are more People at the gym are more likely to be excited about future workouts.

4. Playing outdoors can reduce symptoms of ADHD in children

If your weekday afternoons are mostly spent playing outside like mine, it looks like we may have one more thing to thank our parents for. As The Atlantic reported in 2015, “Children with ADHD who frequented parks were found to have milder symptoms than those who spent more time indoors.”

Additionally, WebMD reported back in 2004 that spending time in nature can reduce ADHD symptoms in children ages 5 to 18. These findings are the result of a nationwide study conducted by Frances Kuo, Ph.D., and Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D., professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The researchers analyzed more than 400 U.S. children, both male and female, who had been previously diagnosed with ADHD. Children from urban, rural and suburban areas participated in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities under the supervision of their parents. Not surprisingly, when parents of children answered questions about their children's behavior, outdoor activities won overwhelmingly. "Across 56 analyses, green outdoor activities received more positive ratings than activities performed in other settings," study authors Kuo and Taylor said.

5. Sunlight can enhance male sexual desire

Interestingly, studies show that vitamin D helps increase libido and testosterone levels in men. As the Daily Mail explains in an article on the subject, “Researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that men with at least 30 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood had major circulating There are more sex hormones in men than in men with lower levels of vitamin D."

Of course, a recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School suggests that testosterone may not be as critical to male libido as we once thought, but testosterone is actually a male sex hormone, and sunlight can help enhance it. So if your current partner happens to have male characteristics, you might want to consider camping this summer. Will not get hurt.

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