Benefits of nature
There is a well-established body of research demonstrating important links between spending time in nature and mental, physical and social health – general well-being in other words.
Physical health benefits
The physical health benefits of nature contact are the most well-documented and include:
- Reduced prevalence of:
- Respiratory disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Various infectious diseases
- Cardiovascular disease and mortality
- Musculoskeletal complaints
- Infectious intestinal diseases
- Urinary tract infections
- Faster recovery from surgery
- Increased immune function
- Reduced headaches, including migraines
- Reduced mortality rates for some cancers
- Reduced health risk factors
- Reduced occurrence of illness
- Reduced blood pressure
- Emotional experiences such as regular experiences of awe and a sense of vitality, both of which can be experienced in nature, can predict healthier levels of inflammatory substances, greater resistance to infection and lower risk of mortality.
- Exposure to natural settings also affects our perception of our health. One study showed that people who live in neighbourhoods with more street trees reported significantly higher health perception: 'Having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being seven years younger.'