Sitting cross-legged in the warm rays of the sun, feeling the grass beneath your toes and smelling the damp soil around you. There’s something quite indescribable about spending time in nature. We intuitively know that nature is good for us – even the marketing gurus have “health” pictured in a grass field surrounded by trees and flowing streams. South Africans have a particular attraction to nature, perhaps because of our (almost) year-round fantastic weather. We spend more time outdoors than the average person, but is it enough?
Studies show that how much time we spend outside can actually affect our health and happiness. What could a little more nature do for you?
On the Physical Side of Things
Today’s society places a lot of emphasis on physical health. We eat healthily, we go to the gym, and we’re careful about the things we expose our bodies to. But we could be doing more by reconnecting with the real world around us. Here are some of the physical changes we can see when spending more time outdoors.
There’s a reason why people tell you to “get some fresh air” when you’re not feeling great. Our homes are enclosed spaces that trap all kinds of air pollution, co2 emissions and chemical gases. We can significantly decrease the effects of this by ventilating our homes with natural air. Open a few windows, turn off the air conditioning and go outside for a change!
Remember when your parents used to tell you that sitting too close TV would give you square eyes? While they may have been exaggerating, the principle of too much artificial light stays the same. And now, we spend our lives in the blue light of our computer and smartphone screens. Take a break and enjoy the sights of the nature around you. Not only is this relaxing, but it will also help reduce eye-strain and reduce instances of nearsightedness.
We all experience the sniffles from time to time. This stems from inflammation in the body. Inflammation shows up in many different forms causing varying illnesses, from autoimmune diseases to cancer. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce inflammation build up in the body.
Improved Immune System
Being in nature helps strengthen your immune system, making you feel healthier. This can lead to a longer lifespan, boosting your bodies defences against disease. A healthy body is a happy body, which brings us to our next point:
On the Mental Side of Things
Nature can improve our mental wellbeing. In a book by author John Muir, he states that “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” What fitting words to express the wonderful effects of nature.
As Muir mentions, nature brings a certain peace to us as human beings. Be can use nature to help decrease our stress levels, remove ourselves from the trials and tribulations of everyday life, and just soak up the sun (not to mention the added benefits of getting enough Vitamin D).
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Being in nature boosts the serotonin in our brains, making us feel happier. This mood lifting activity is a positive way to help people deal with problems like anxiety and depression. It provides a healthy coping mechanism to help ease the symptoms of these conditions.
If you are having trouble remembering things, paying attention or feeling creative, spending time in nature can improve all these things in one. Imagine the effects of spending more time outdoors on our kids during school time, or our own productivity during work hours. The results are so far-reaching that they can impact almost every aspect of our lives.
Take The Nature Challenge
Now that you understand the benefits of being in nature, it’s time to ask yourself if you need to make the change. Dainfern Golf and Country Estate is a beautiful place, where you can get the most out of nature. Take a walk down our trails, spend some time on the golf course or sit outside at our restaurant while your kids play. Get active with some of our outdoor activities like tennis or running. The whole family can get involved in spending time outside together, helping you build stronger relationships and connections.
Will you take the challenge to improve your life and the life of your family?