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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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5 Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

June 28, 2018

People seem to know instinctively that spending time outdoors is a good thing. But, with our modern lifestyle, it’s become pretty standard to spend more time inside—away from nature. In fact, on average, Americans spend nearly 93% of their time indoors!

Here’s the thing though: spending time in nature is really important for your optimal health. More and more, scientific studies are uncovering the different health benefits from spending time outdoors.

 

Here are five of the health benefits for spending time outdoors in nature:

  1. You are more likely to be active. If you spend too much time inside, then it’s possible that you’re not moving around enough. If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion. Research shows that people who exercise outside are more likely to stick to a future routine than those who exercised at the gym. 
  2. You will become more relaxed. According to the journal researchit only takes five minutes to experience the relaxing effects of nature. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles.
  3. Your concentration will improve. Going outside can have some impactful results on your brainpower. Studies show that spending time outside can improve creative thinking. Other research shows that children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. 
  4. Your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure will be lowered. People who spent more time in the forests had lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and a lower pulse than people who spent more time indoors or in the city areas. But, just being exposed to sunlight alone, can help lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
  5. Your vitamin D levels rise. Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that just 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure per day can help your body to create vitamin D that it needs to promote vitamin absorption, strengthen bones and it may even help to prevent specific types of cancer.

 

Florida has state parks and trails that inspire residents and visitors with outdoor recreation opportunities and scenic beauty. Download the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app, available on iTunes and Android Market, to plan your trip.

 

July National Parks and Recreation Month and the Florida Department of Health is recognizing the importance of community parks and recreational areas, and the role they play as a contributing environmental indicator for better health and physical activity.