A Little Time with Nature is Good for Your Health

Credit: Medical News Today
Nothing like a little fresh air for a tired soul.

I’m admittedly not the most outdoorsy person. I love sunshine, fresh air, and woodland critters; it’s mostly just the bugs I can’t stand. Still, it’s important to get outside on a regular basis. A little vitamin D from the sun, a relaxing breeze, watching ducks do that funny tail shake; it’s not just relaxing in general, it’s actually good for you.

A study from the University of Plymouth in the UK has shown that people who engage with nature regularly exhibit improvements in both physical and mental health. It’s not enough to just stick your head out the window for a few minutes, though. You need to have some kind of psychological connection to a spot for it to help you. What do I mean by “psychological connection?” Well, somewhere that makes you happy. Somewhere you can find your friends, or somewhere you can get a moment of peace. Somewhere you love to go with your dog, or somewhere you can see a particular group of animals. Basically, anywhere you can visit habitually and do the same thing. Ideally, this would be somewhere like a park or a nature trail, but in a pinch, your own yard would probably be fine.

So how often do you have to commune with nature to get an improvement? You should spend as much time outdoors as you’re comfortable, of course, but nobody is made of free time. If you can get at least an hour or so outdoors a week, that’ll get you some improvements. As for what you actually do, well, do whatever you like. Have a picnic, read a book, play with your dog, whatever. As long as you’re getting that air and sun, you’re doing fine.