5 Amazing Ways Nature can Benefit Your Health

health benefits of hiking

Have you ever thought about how much time you are truly spending outdoors? These 5 amazing ways nature can benefit your health will get you motivated to take the plunge and start experiencing the best the outdoors has to offer! 

On average, most American’s spend 87% of their time indoors.1   Is that you? Are you finding yourself inside more and more these days and missing out on the positive benefits of nature? Recent studies suggest that just two hours spent outdoors per week is enough to unlock the myriad of benefits of nature on your health.

How does nature positively affect your health?

The exact mechanism for improved mental health and well-being in nature is not well known, however recent research has attempted to link the idea that being exposed to large open spaces expanded space perception and decreased impulsivity.And still other research has coined the phrase, Attention Restoration Theory4, which touts the idea that most of us enduring the hustle and bustle of city life, have to maintain concentration for long periods of time, whereas in nature we are free to relax our attention thus creating space for a relaxed body and mind. 

Additionally, Japanese researchers are busy looking into the potential effect that aerosols, inhaled from the forests, have possibly contributed to elevated levels of natural killer cells in our immune system, which fight tumors and infections.  “A follow-up study, in which essential oils from cedars were emitted in a hotel room where people slept, also caused a significant spike in NK cells.”4

Here are 5 Ways Nature can Benefit Your Health:

  1. Decreased levels of Stress1.
  2. Decreased levels of depression and anxiety1.
  3. Decreased blood pressure and incidence of Type II diabetes and stroke2.
  4. Improved sense of mental health and well-being2.
  5. Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and preterm birth 2.



health benefits of the outdoors

Even if we do not know the exact scientific evidence behind WHY nature improves our health, we cannot ignore the plethora of evidence that has started linking the benefits of being in nature.

Your next question may be - “How can I get outside more?” Below are some ideas to get you started!

6 Ideas to Encourage More Outdoor Time

  • Parks: Getting outside more can be as simple as heading to your local park. Or, make a day of it and explore a park that is new to you. Looking to find a park in your area ?  This interactive map from Washington Parks Association will help you find a park that would be fun to explore with the whole family.
  • Hike: Getting outside in nature doesn’t get any better than immersing yourself on a beautiful trail in Washington state. Our varied terrain has much to offer, including hikes to lakes, along beautiful ridges or along rivers and streams. To make finding a trail easier, check out hiking apps such as Alltrails  or Washington Trails Association.
  • Beach Day: Plan an outing to the water and calming effects of the water soothe your body and mind. Often, days spent by the water can be the most easy-going days with nothing much to pack but some sunscreen and floaty. Great way to relax away the day and really get in touch by walking over rocks, cooling off in the water or digging in the sand. The sensory experience of being at the beach just cannot be beat!
  • Sign your kids up at a “Forest School”: Does the term Forest School have you scratching your head? This Scandinavian inspired idea, where children are educated in outdoor settings, has grown in popularity over the last few years. In fact, the number of forest, or outdoor schools has increased by 500% since 2012 in the United States.4  In fact Washington was one of the first states to license these schools. What a great way to get kids outside in nature !
  • Picnic: Plan a simple picnic, in your backyard even, to take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Bonus points if you find yourself picking daisies
  • Put up a Hammock: Put a hammock up in your backyard to encourage more time out in nature.

    the benefits of being outdoors

    We hope these amazing ways nature can benefit your health motivated you to try to add new ways to increase your exposure to the outdoors! What a great way to improve your health, even your mood, by engaging your senses more in the outdoor world. Your health and well-being will thank you!

    If you enjoyed reading this article, you may enjoy reading more about Intuitive Eating and 10 Best Ways to Decrease your Stress.




    1. Health Benefits of Being Outdoors | Right as Rain by UW Medicine
    2. The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes (nih.gov)

    3 How does nature exposure make people healthier?: Evidence for the role of impulsivity and expanded space perception (nih.gov)

    4 Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health - Yale E360