Reduces your stresses
Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a professor at Chiba University in Japan, has been researching the benefits of connecting with nature since 2004 and has found that leisurely forest walks yield a 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol, compared with urban walks.
Participants in his studies have also anecdotally reported better moods and lower anxiety.
Improves your mood
Academics at Derby University have conducted a meta-study of existing research which concludes that Connecting to nature can be linked to happiness and mental well-being. Spending time in nature releases hormones that relate to the pursuit of joy, connecting to calm and avoiding threats.
Frees up your creativity
In one study by David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, participants saw a 50% improvement in creative problem-solving after three days immersed in nature with all access to modern technology removed.
Boosts your immune system
Trees and plants emit ‘phytoncides’ which we breathe in when we spend time in the forest. These have been proven in studies by Qing Li, a Japanese shinrin yoku researcher, to enhance the activity of Natural Killer cells that help our bodies to fight disease.
Reduces High-blood pressure
Being in nature has been proven to reduce blood pressure, a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy heart. A recent meta-study in Japan reviewed twenty trials, involving 732 participants, which demonstrated that blood pressure levels in the forest environment were significantly lower than those in the non–forest environment.
Accelerates your recovery from illness
Nature can be a powerful catalyst in the recovery process. The most well–known study in this area by Dr. Roger Ulrich, an architect specializing in healthcare building design, showed that even a natural view from a window reduced convalescence time by a day, compared to an urban view.
Continue to get outside every single day, rain/shine/snow/wind. This week aim to get to a forest for at least one of your walks. It can be an urban forest within the city, like Burnaby Central Park, Bear Creek Park in Surrey, Tynehead Park, Campbell Valley Park, or any of the local mountains around you –North Shore, Golden Ears, or the area around Cultus. Be sure to be prepared for the elements, as it gets much colder in the forest and mountains.