Get Out: Spending Time In Nature Improves Your Health

by Lauren Scrudato

I think we can all agree that there’s nothing better than spending a beautiful afternoon outdoors soaking in the sun. But being outdoors and specifically spending time in nature improves your health.

A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise compared the results of people who walked on an outdoor track as opposed to those who exercised on an indoor treadmill. The study concluded that the outdoor walkers moved at a faster pace, felt less exerted, and experienced more positive emotions than those on the indoor treadmill. Furthermore, a separate study found that subjects who walked in rural areas felt their workload was much more manageable than those who strolled down city streets.

Even though we may feel too busy to make time to explore the outdoors, the results may be just what we need in order to be more productive.

I just spent a week in the mountains of Montana at Big Sky Resort–the largest mountain resort in the country– and I admit I had no desire to come back to real life. I fantasized about dropping all


Soaking in all of nature’s benefits from two miles above sea level.

responsibilities and becoming a ski bum, but here I am back in Jersey. I have noticed since I’ve returned that I’m much more clear headed and focused. The stress-free vibe of my outdoors vacation has rolled over into my everyday life.

During a study by South Korea’s Chonnam National University, a scan showed heightened activity in the part of the brain that is linked to positivity and emotional stability when subjects saw photographs of scenery such as forests and mountains. The scan also saw the same rise in activity in the basal ganglia, the area of the brain that’s connected to remembering happy memories.

Adults are not the only ones affected by the amount of time we spend in nature. The National Wildlife Federation wrote that the average American boy or girl spends only 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, while they spend over seven hours per day in front of an electronic screen. If children spent more time outdoors, our country’s rate of prescriptions for ADHD, the highest in the world, could decrease while the body’s levels of Vitamin D would increase, helping to protect future bone problems, diabetes, and heart problems.

Forget medicine and pills. The best thing we can do for ourselves is unplug and get a little lost in the woods. Once the weather warms up give it a try and see what changes you notice.

About the Author/s

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Lauren is a writer and blogger for The Digest. A lifelong Sussex County resident, Lauren has adventured out of the sticks of northwest New Jersey to join The Digest team. When she is not commuting in rush hour traffic, she is typically frolicking outdoors or cheering on the Yankees.

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