The Science of Surrounding Ourselves With Nature

By Meriem Cherif

     Very often, many of us take the gifts of our planet for granted. Caught up with work, school, or taking care of kids, we don't always allocate time in order to pause, relax, and place ourselves among the beauty of Earth. By depriving ourselves of this valuable time, we miss out on the numerous benefits that are granted to us by the planet. With many scientific advantages coming from spending time in nature, the moment is now to venture into the great outdoors! 

Undeniably, the greatest benefit of going outdoors to green spaces is its significant effect on physical health. One study found that those who spent at least 30 minutes a week walking in the park saw their high blood pressure levels decrease. In addition, a study looking at the link between cancer and nature discovered that individuals who took two long walks over two consecutive days saw an increase in cancer-fighting NK cells; the cells retained high activity for nearly a month, increasing by 56 percent. In nearly all cities, green spaces are free to access, and are the perfect places to go on a jog, do some yoga, or hold a plank— no gym membership required! Breathing fresh air, soaking up the sun, and being amongst greenery leads to an increased quality of life, representing only one of the many gifts that Earth provides to us. Moreover, nature is excellent for the development of children and their immune systems. When the play areas of children increased in biodiversity, transitioning from a gravel yard to mini-forests, Finnish researchers found that the immune systems of the children improved within a month. Many believe that exposing children to microbes in nature will hurt them. However, an increase in asthma, eczema, and more autoimmune diseases in children has been linked to the hygiene hypothesis, which theorizes that autoimmune disease rates are increasing because children are exposed to too little microbes. As a result, coming in contact with nature microbes as a child leads to a successful antibody response, without actually making the child sick.

In addition, surrounding oneself with nature is also mentally, emotionally, and psychologically healing. For patients in recovery at the hospital, those who had a view with a natural scene recovered from their ailments quicker compared to those who viewed an urban scene. In nature, stress of the work or school week can be shaken off, and time can be dedicated to silence, self-reflection, and listening to the sounds of nature.

Well, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go outside and enjoy all the blessings of our planet!

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