Who doesn’t love walking in nature? The fact that natural environments are less and less accessible to city dwellers should be of concern, especially with regard to general health and well-being. However, constant research shows that nature has many benefits for well-being.
More than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this proportion is expected to reach 70% by 2050. Despite the many benefits of urbanization, studies show that the mental health of city dwellers is affected by their urban environment, with a greater prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders and an increasing incidence of schizophrenia. Finding a little patch of greenery in cities or spending time in nature while visiting rural areas can do more than offer a temporary escape from concrete, steel and glass.
1 Contact with nature enhances creativity and problem solving.
Have you ever been stuck, hit a wall, been unable to make a reasoned decision? Most people do at one time or another. It’s no coincidence that taking the time to find yourself in nature can lead to a surge of creativity and/or the sudden awareness of a viable solution. Additionally, according to a study published in PLoS One, there is a cognitive benefit to spending time in a natural environment. Other research published in Landscape and Urban Planning showed that exposure to natural green space improved complex working memory capacity and decreased anxiety and rumination.
2 People with depression can benefit from interacting with nature.
According to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, people with major depressive disorder who took 50-minute walks in a natural setting showed significant increases in memory span compared to participants in the study who walked in an urban setting. The fact that the participants also showed an improvement in their mood was noted, but the effects were not correlated with memory, leading the researchers to suggest that other mechanisms or the replication of previous work might be involved.
3 Reduced anxiety levels may result from green exercise.
While exercise is almost universally recommended as a way to improve overall health and well-being, the benefits of green exercise have recently been studied in relation to how such activity reduces anxiety levels. . The researchers found that green exercise resulted in a moderate reduction in short-term anxiety, and for participants who thought they were exercising in a more natural environment, the levels of anxiety reduction were even greater. important.
4 Urban and rural green spaces can help alleviate stress in children and the elderly.
Stress relief is a lifelong goal for millions of people living in urban areas, as well as for city dwellers around the world. For children and the elderly, access to parks, playgrounds, gardens and other green spaces in cities can help improve the health of these groups vulnerable to some of the challenges of urbanization.
5 Reduce stress while gardening.
Gardening can produce more than table food or beautiful plants and landscaping. Garden work is also beneficial for reducing acute stress. That’s according to research that found reduced salivary cortisol levels and improved mood after gardening.
6 A walk in nature could help your heart.
Among the many health benefits attributed to nature, say scientists, is the protective mechanism that nature exerts on cardiovascular function. This is due to the association between affect enhancement and heat reduction of natural environments in urban areas. Other research has shown that nature walks reduce blood pressure, adrenaline, and noradrenaline and that these protective effects persist after the nature walk ends. Japanese researchers, in a study published in 2011, suggested that habitual walks in a forest environment are beneficial for cardiovascular and metabolic parameters. Another Japanese study of middle-aged men taking forest baths found a significant reduction in pulse rate and urinary adrenaline, as well as a significant increase in vigor scores and a reduction in depression scores, d anxiety, confusion and fatigue.
7 Mood and self-esteem improve after green exercise.
A study published in Perspectives in Public Health showed that study participants, all of whom had mental health issues, engaging in nature activities showed significant improvements in self-esteem and levels of self-esteem. ‘mood. The researchers suggested that combining exercise, social components and nature in future programs could help promote mental health. Research conducted has shown that both men and women have seen their self-esteem improve as a result of green exercises, with the greatest improvements seen in people with mental illnesses. The greatest changes in self-esteem were seen in the youngest participants, with the effects diminishing with age. Mood, on the other hand, saw the least change among the young and the elderly.
8 Green spaces in a living environment increase residents’ overall perception of health.
Not everyone lives in a natural environment, where abundant trees and open spaces offer a welcoming respite from everyday stress and a convenient way to exercise. However, adding well-planned open spaces to urban environments can improve city dwellers’ perceptions of their overall health. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
9 Nature can improve the quality of life of older people.
As adults age, their quality of life often declines due to medical and mental health issues. In a 2015 study published in Health and Place, researchers found that nature has an influential and nuanced effect on the lives of older adults. They also suggested that a better understanding of how older people experience health and landscape will better inform methods to improve daily contact with nature, which can lead to a better quality of life for this person. population.
10 Natural environments support the emotional health and well-being of women every day.
Sedentary urban lifestyle has been associated with poor mental health in women. Yet getting up from your desk and taking a short walk is not enough to improve emotional health and overall well-being. There is growing evidence that public access to natural environments helps women alleviate stress and anxiety and promote clarity, reassurance and emotional perspective.