Getting back to nature are good for both you mind and your body.
Getting back to nature may be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. Many studies have now documented what we should have known all along — green spaces are just plain good for the body and the mind.
- Green spaces are right for your mental health. Living in towns and cities with lots of green space can significantly improve your mental health.
- Green spaces are also good for your physical health. But what about your physical well-being? Research published in Scientific Reports finds people who spend at least two hours per week in nature are more likely to report that they are in good health. They also have better psychological well-being compared with those who don’t get any exposure at all. Positive results peaked at 200–300 minutes/week, and it didn’t matter how subjects divided the 120-minute dose of nature — whether a long 2-hour walk or several shorter ones, the results were the same.
Living within a 1-kilometer radius of green spaces was associated with a lower annual prevalence of 15 out of 24 disease clusters, including heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, mental illness, respiratory, neurological, and digestive diseases a study by Dutch researchers.
They looked at data from nearly 350,000 people. They found that this relation was most robust for anxiety disorders and depression, and stronger in children and lower socioeconomic groups.
But wait! There’s more.
- Green spaces may make you smarter. The brainpower of adults and children exposed to greenery seems to be enhanced by greenery as well. According to the US National Institutes of Health-sponsored research, nature walks resulted in significant cognitive gains. According to results from another study, children exposed to greenery exhibited improvements in attention and working memory.
- Mix it with a little dirt, and voila! Microbes that are present in soil may be right for you, according to two studies. Specifically, exposure to Mycobacterium vaccae — a harmless and common soil bacterium — has been found to have positive effects on the human body.
So, get out in nature. Take a walk, eat your lunch outside. Visit a park with your kids, or go for a hike in the woods. Your mind and body will reap the benefits.
I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.