American novelist Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”
And here’s a little research to corroborate his thought. Scientists have found that taking breaks outside, or in settings that contained some nature has been shown to reduce stress.
Attention restoration theory (ART) suggests that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature, or even looking at scenes of nature.
Proposed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan in the 1980s in their book The experience of nature: A psychological perspective, the idea is that when we are dealing with a task that demands high levels of concentration, we exert mental energy from certain parts of the brain, and that nature can help replenish our mental and emotional capacity.
Find your way outside
Norman Goh, Orange Naturals’ VP of Marketing, can attest to the feel-good benefits of getting close to nature. Norman (or Norm, as we call him) is an avid hiker, camping enthusiast and get-outsider who frequently travels is prone to spontaneous road trips to hit trails in and outside of the city.
“It feels good to get out and away,” he says. “That’s why I do it. But the most appealing is just the quiet of it all. Most people get out for the adrenaline rush, but for me, it’s about disconnecting. Getting outside is like a moving meditation.”
Additional benefits to getting outdoors include:
- It improves your workout: Researchers found that those who exercise outside are more eager to return for a future workout than those who stick to the gym.
- It can speed up weight loss: Not only are the great outdoors wonderful for ramping up our workouts, but being outdoors and in the fresh air (especially the higher up you go) can directly contribute to weight loss.
- You increase your vitamin D intake: According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D is essential to bone health and researchers say that the “sunshine vitamin” plays a vital role in many other areas of health as well. Skin’s exposure to sun enhances mood and energy.
- It can take the years off: The Journal of Aging Health published a study that showed a daily jaunt outside might help older people stay healthy and functioning longer. Participants in the study who spent time outdoors every day at age 70 complained less of aches, pains and health-related problems by age 77, than their housebound counterparts.
- It’s a great family activity: And so many studies tout the benefits that getting out have for us – and our kids, too. This article by child psychologist Sandra Cobain, highlights them beautifully.
People come up with all kinds of reasons why they can’t get outdoors more, Norm says.
“They say things like they don’t have time, or if I tell them about the benefits of camping, they go, ‘Oh, but I don’t have the right equipment/skills/that kind of energy. And I’m like, ‘You’ve got no energy to get outside? Then that’s exactly why you need to get outside.’”
What’re you waiting for? Get up and out there! A new you in the new year starts right here.
Forget the scrolling. Find all 21 ways to Rock Your Resolutions right here.