Supercharge Your Health Using Nature
Written by: Brandon Epstein
There is something fantastically energizing about going outside and enjoying nature.
It’s one of those things that can be so refreshing and enjoyable, yet somehow, shortly after this experience, we seem to forget how sweet it was. Maybe for you it’s something you don’t necessarily forget, but it becomes one of those shoulds in your life instead of an enjoyable habit.
You know about those shoulds right?
Meditation is a great example. Many people know how great it is for their health, but regardless of how great it makes people feel, at some point they stop doing it. Maybe this sounds like you. 🙂
It’s one of those things that when you get back to doing it again, you always ask yourself how you could have ever stopped doing it in the first place.
It’s always a powerful exercise to look at the shoulds in our life and start to turn them into things to start doing again on a consistent basis.
Let’s start with getting out in nature!
If you need an extra nudge, I’ve created a list of 19 ways nature supercharges your health and life, just for you.
1. It gets you exercising.
Getting out in nature almost always requires that you get moving. Whether you go for a hike, bike ride, swim or any other outdoor activity, you’ll probably notice that it’s hard to avoid burning some calories. This is a great way to start looking at exercise as something you get to do instead of something you have to do.
2. Lowers stress hormones.
There have been some studies done on people who live in nature versus people who live in more urban areas and researchers have seen that people living in nature, overall have lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, so anytime we can get those levels down is great! You don’t need to move to a cabin in the woods, but I hope this does provide you with some extra incentive to spend more time outdoors.
3. AHA moments.
Have you ever noticed that when you change your scenery completely and get some extra time alone, you find yourself having more AHA moments? Nature is a great way to just let your mind wander and see what genius new thought may pop out at you.
In urban settings, we are constantly exposed to everyone else’s mood and energy. It’s super refreshing to get out in the middle of nowhere and experience what it’s like to just be you. Feeling your own energy and mood could give you the clarity you need to go back into the hustle of your own life feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Being away from everything in your life – people, material things, etc. – can give you the opportunity to really appreciate how much you really do have. When you’re out in nature, you experience how abundant your life really is. You realize that you feel whole and complete without material possessions and find a greater sense of gratitude for all the wonderful people and luxuries you have surrounding you in your day to day life, making life even sweeter.
6. Frees you from your screen addiction.
For many of us, life takes place in large part on screens. Your phone, your computer, your TV, your tablet – so many screens! Getting out in nature and viewing the world in it’s raw form instead of through a screen is incredibly invigorating and peaceful.
7. Allows you to disconnect.
Piggybacking on getting away from your screens, you can disconnect all together when you get into nature because you most likely will not have an internet connection. It’s always fun to remember that the world doesn’t end when you spend a day or two disconnected.
8. Improves lung and heart health.
A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that people who lived in areas with very little trees were much more likely to die from heart disease or respiratory disease.
9. Increases creativity.
A study looking at participants who disconnected from electronics and spent 4-6 days in nature were found to perform 50% better in creativity tests by the end of the trip in comparison to a creativity test conducted before the trip began.
10. Helps improve your attention span.
A super cool study looking at what 25 minutes of walking in nature does for you showed that you can significantly improve your ability to pay attention in under an hour a day!
11. Helps you sleep better.
This may not be possible for you every day, but just two hours of forrest walking was shown to increase the quality of sleep.
12. Improves your mood.
Again, this one is probably a no brainer, but getting out in nature has been shown to make people happier! A study conducted at Juyoung Lee of Chiba University showed that people who went on nature walks versus urban walks experienced less stress and an overall better mood.
13. Gives you more mental energy.
Walking or sitting somewhere that is super lush and green has been shown to decrease brain fatigue. Think of it as a shortcut to recharging your mind.
14. May lower blood pressure.
There have been around 12 studies done looking at time spent in nature and they all correlate with lowered blood pressure.
15. Helps build relationships.
If you want to bring a buddy or lover on an excursion with you, it gives you an awesome opportunity to connect with them on a whole new level. Moving your body and being in beautiful scenery is a recipe for lots of feel good hormones and a great time together.
16. The best excuse to play.
In the western world, we often times undervalue play when we become adults. Getting out in nature is the perfect excuse to play again, which will help you relieve stress and get more enjoyment out of your life.
17. New adventures.
Humans were meant to explore and venture. Nature gives you the perfect opportunity to get out into the elements and have an experience that is completely novel.
18. True freedom.
Walking through nature with no particular agenda gives you the experience of true freedom; freedom to have your own experience without any judgement or expectations.
19. Reminder that we are all one.
When you are in nature, you remember how connected everything and everyone really is. You breathe in the oxygen from the trees and they consume the carbon dioxide that you exhale. Life is all connected and infinitely cyclical. Being out in nature is a beautiful reminder of how connected we all are and how much we should appreciate this beautiful life we are so fortunate to live.
Brandon Epstein is a former college football player, turned professional fitness model and serial entrepreneur. These days he spends his time helping people look great and feel awesome over at ZenDudeFitness.com. He can also be found hosting the Zen Dude Fitness Podcast where he’s always looking for new ways to make fat loss fun, simple and efficient for everybody.
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