You’re at a local park. The sun is shining and there’s a gentle breeze. You hear the leaves of nearby trees rustle and the slight movement of water from a lake. You take a deep breath of fresh air and immediately feel better. You feel stress melt away and you are suddenly feeling more at ease. You aren’t just imagining this sudden improvement in your mood and mental clarity. Studies have proven that time outside in nature can improve our physical, mental and emotional health.
Physical Health Benefits
For those living with inflammation or high blood pressure, nature may be able to provide some relief. Studies suggest that those who spend time in forests have lower levels of inflammation compared to those that spend all their time in cities. A similar study showed that forest walks can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. If you are looking for a different way to add to exercise into your life, look to nature! A short hike or walk outside is a great way to incorporate more exercise into your routine.
Mental and Emotional Health Benefits
Spending time in nature is also scientifically linked to mental and emotional benefits. Studies show spending time outside restores mental fatigue. After a long day at work or school, go outside to clear the mental “fog”. Nature also improves short term memory and relieves stress. When combined with exercise such as a hike, it can ease anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
The great outdoors has wonderful social benefits as well. Take your family on a morning hike, or get a group of neighbors together to explore a local nature area. You’ll become closer, make new friends, and make life-long memories. If you’re new to town, or haven’t seen all that Osceola County has to offer, a hike can introduce you to a different part of the area. It will help you feel more connected to your home and take pride in the area where you live. Visit https://www.osceola.org/agencies-departments/parks/parks-facilities/ to find a County park near you.
Although most of us spend our free time in front of a screen, there are many benefits of going outside and spending a bit of time in nature. If you’re interested in participating in a local nature event, visit https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/osceola for a calendar of our upcoming events.