Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

There are many benefits from spending time in nature as shown below.
Physical Benefits
  • Sunlight
    - Vitamin D (lowers blood pressure, decreases risk of colon, prostrate, and pancreatic cancers)
    - Increases calcium uptake
  • Better diet (kids who garden eat more vegetables)
  • Immune system strengthening (kids who play outside have stronger immune systems)
  • Promotes healing
  • Reduces pain
  • Decreases the effects of jet lag
  • Increases life expectancy
  • Provides opportunities for exercise
  • Decreases BMI
  • Lowers systolic blood pressure
  • Reduces avoidable disease risk factors
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Reduces osteoporosis risk
Psychological-emotional
  • Restorative
  • Stress reduction
  • Attention restoration
  • Improves mood states
  • Reduces depression
  • Reduces anger and anxiety
  • Enhances feelings of pleasure
  • Increases mental acuity (kids who grow plants scored 12% higher on academic tests)
  • Reduces mental fatigue
  • Improve problem solving ability and concentration
  • Improves body image for women
  • Reduces the impact of stress
  • Increases feelings of empowerment
  • Encourages nurturing characteristics
  • Decreases risk of seasonal affective disorder  (SAD)
  • Mitigate impact of dementia, including Alzheimer’s
Spiritual Benefits
  • Gives children a sense of peace and oneness with the world
  • Sparks creativity and imagination
  • Inspires connections with the wider world
  • Increases a sense of wonder
  • Encourages reflection
  • Quiets the mind
Society’s benefits
  • Cuts crime
  • Strengthens family relations
  • Decrease domestic violence
  • Strengthens neighborhood ties
  • Assists new immigrants cope with transition
  • Cost effective health promotion
  • Environmental economics – increases preference for environmental quality over other goods
  • Increases environmental activism
  • Increases park planning
  • Preserves biodiversity
  • Stimulates social interactions among children

From The Healing Power of Nature: The Need for Nature for Human Health, Development, and Wellbeing by Denise Mitten, PhD, Ferris State University