Nature is the antidote for stress: how a dose of nature benefits your health

We all know being in nature is good for humans, but why? And how much do we need to reap the benefits of mother nature?

Nature plays a huge role in reducing stress, boosting our physical health and improving sleep quality. And for those of us who live in urban areas, it can be harder to get out into nature easily. But a dose of natural beauty and greenery can do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing. So how much do we need?
Forest walks are the strongest form of nature for calmness (forest near Olive)
Forest walks are the strongest form of nature for calmness (forest near Olive)

120 minutes a week is the sweet spot to reap the benefits of nature

Nature is great for us, but how much do we need? A recent study of 20,000 people found the minimum time you need to spend in nature to improve your wellbeing and health is 120 minutes a week. You can feel the benefits from a minimum of 20-30 minutes - but the sweet spot is at least 2 hours of green a week.
Two hours a week is an achievable target to hit, especially as you can split this into short bursts across the week or get your 2 hours in one hit. If you’re striving for your 10k steps a day (and closing those rings on apple watch), make sure you’re factoring in where you’re walking to get the most out of each step. Local park, weekend walks out of the city or a full break in nature at Unplugged will do it!
Walking in nature near Loki Unplugged Cabin
Walking in nature near Loki Unplugged Cabin

Nature is scientifically proven to improve physical health and cognitive function

There’s science behind people telling you to “take a walk to clear you mind”. There’s more than one health benefit to time in the wild.

1. Boosts calm and reduces cortisol levels

Cortisol is your stress hormone it helps you survive in times of crisis - basically your built-in alarm system. But it also has negative side effects, like increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Spending time surrounded by nature has proven to reduce levels of cortisol by 21%.
“Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.” - Richard Louv
A study in Japan found that people who walked in nature had lower stress readings than those who walked through an urban setting—and that their moods were better for up to 24 hours after the walk. It’s also been shown that forest walks have a stronger positive impact on our mood and stress response.

2. Improves your sleep

Reducing your stress levels is tick number one for improving your sleep. And the ‘nature pill’ can help with that. But being in nature also promotes better quality shut-eye. Exposure to real sunlight helps control your sleep-wake cycle, so getting a dose of sunlight and nature in at the right time of the day will give you a better nights sleep.
Snapping images of New Forest near Loki Unplugged Cabin
Snapping images of New Forest near Loki Unplugged Cabin

3. Reduces attention fatigue and sparks creativity

Our attention is being grabbed at every opportunity in the busy world - work, social media, life-admin. But our attention is finite and overstimulation can result in attention fatigue. And that’s a killer for creativity and problem solving. Research is all pointing to one thing: time offline and in nature.
“Being nature restores depleted attention circuits, which can then help us be more open to creativity and problem-solving”
Being in nature (without your phone) allows your brain to have space to think of new ideas and solve problems that might seem overwhelming when you’re busy multitasking or focusing. Next time you need to be more creative, open the door and stroll to the nearest green space you have. Or take a shower - they also helps open the mind.
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Time to make being outdoors second nature

Factor in time in the outdoors into your weekly routine - whether that’s a local park, a weekend away or working out in green space instead of the gym. Soak it up and you’ll feel better for it - we promise!