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Benefits Of Spending Time In Nature

A man walking his dog in NYC while spending time in nature.

Does the warmth of the sun on your skin, smelling the aroma of your favorite flower, or hearing the rhythm of the waves rejuvenate you? If so, you’ll be happy to know that our experts at Maiden Lane Medical feel the same way! Spending an adequate amount of time outdoors is one important factor for optimal health!

You may wonder how much time is needed outdoors to fully benefit. You can find the answer to that question and more below. For more information, contact our office in Manhattan, NY today!

An Evidence-Based Study That Shows How Spending Time in Nature Can Be Beneficial

In 2019, Scientific Reports published a study indicating that your physical and mental health can significantly improve by spending as little as 120 minutes outdoors a week. This can be done in a single session or broken into smaller daily segments.

This study collected data from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey, which had 19,806 participants in England. The study reported that the participants who spent 2 hours in nature had a greater sense of well-being and overall health than those who spent one hour or even one and a half hours outside.

What Are The Benefits of Spending Time Outside?

There are many benefits that can be derived from spending an adequate amount of time outside. Below you will find a summary of some mental and physical benefits of being out in nature.

Physical Health Benefits

You’ll be glad to know that the physical benefits of being outdoors are plenty. Here are a few of the most significant rewards of taking time to be out in nature.

Increased Vitamin D Levels

Many Americans have a Vitamin D deficiency. Spending 10-15 minutes a few times a week in natural sunlight helps your body produce more of this essential nutrient. Having sufficient Vitamin D helps reduce your risk of health conditions, including:

Increased Activity Levels

If you plan an outdoor activity with your family or friends, your chances of being active are much higher. Additionally, if you choose to exercise outside, it can make physical activity more of an enjoyable experience.

Your outdoor activities do not always have to be strenuous. For example, you can:

  • Play with your dog in a park
  • Start gardening
  • Wash your car

By participating in outdoor activities, you also find enjoyable ways to reduce the time you spend sitting still or watching something on a screen.

Improved Sleep

Sleep is vital for your body to function properly. So, if you struggle to fall asleep at night, natural light can help regulate your circadian rhythm, improving your sleep quality.

May Lower Blood Pressure

Researchers have reported that the nitric oxide in your skin responds to the sun’s rays by widening blood vessels. If you have high blood pressure, this may help lower your pressure, reducing your risk of stroke or heart attack.

Boosts Your Immune System

Immersing yourself in the natural world can give your immune system an extra boost, allowing it to function in a more optimal manner. Microorganisms found in nature can help your system recognize what is and is not harmful to your body.

Mental Health Benefits

Friends spending time outside together in Manhattan, NY. By spending just a little bit of time outside regularly, you can also give a boost to your mental health.

Elevates Your Mood

Nature is one of the best remedies for stress, anxiety, or other mental health problems. Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise can elevate your mood by:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Easing depression symptoms
  • Promoting happiness, optimism, and peace

Many have found “forest bathing,” a popular Japanese practice of spending periods of time in a forest or wooded area, to be extremely helpful.

How Can I Incorporate More Outdoor Time Into My Schedule?

You can incorporate more outside time into your schedule by:

  • Finding green spaces to enjoy. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), green space is defined as “land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.
  • Planning weekend trips to enjoy extended time outside.
  • Biking or walking around one of the many parks in the city.
  • If possible, choose to walk for part of your commute to work.

Where Can I Find Green Space In or Around New York City?

If you live in NYC, you have the most well-known park in the world, Central Park, right at your fingertips. Additionally, New York City is home to over 1,700 green spaces and parks. You may be surprised to know that 4 of them are even larger than Central Park, which is 843 acres!

If you would like to journey out of the city, you may enjoy the following places:

  • Schunnemunk Mountain State Park
  • Franklin D Roosevelt State Park
  • Many beaches and green areas in Long Island and New Jersey.

Everyday life can be hectic, especially living in a big city. However, outdoor time can really improve your health!

Our team of expert physicians and clinical staff at Maiden Lane Medical would welcome the privilege of assisting you to live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. If you have questions about incorporating exercise into your lifestyle or spending time outdoors because you have asthma or allergies, schedule an appointment with our office in Manhattan, NY today!

Medically Reviewed By

Jennifer Zocca, MD
Medical Director and Pain Management Physician