5 Health Benefits of Nature Travel

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And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul - John Muir

We have all experienced happiness after a stroll on the beach or a long walk amidst the trees. A wave of peace and calm engulfs us when we reach a mountain or a hill top (I am remembering my trip to Assam ). Is it just that we are spending time away from the regular routine that de-stresses us? It appears that there is science behind these happy feelings.

In Japan, they call it shinrin-yoku – which means “forest bathing.” It is believed that spending time in the forest and natural areas is good preventative medicine, since it lowers stress, which causes or exacerbates some of our most intractable health issues.

Let me share the benefits of being in the nature especially when traveling which has been proved by science.

1. Nature Travel Increases Attention Span

It’s official: Living in a city is bad for your brain as is found in a research by University of Michigan scientists. The team of psychologists found that being in an urban environment depresses memory performance and attention spans. This study explored the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature and found that walking in a park in any season, or even viewing pictures of nature, can help improve memory and attention.

Since in kids the Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign show that children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD concentrate better and have a general reduction of symptoms after spending time in nature.

Health Benefits of Nature Travel

2. Nature Travel Boosts Creativity

A date with the nature helps to improve and boost creativity and that too, – by up to 50 percent. According to a University of Kansas study, these benefits peak after about three days of really getting away, turning off the cell phone, not hauling the iPad and not looking for internet coverage. An extended period of time surrounded by the softly fascinating environment showed the positive effects on how your mind works.

3. Nature Travel Inspires Awe which is Good for You

Looking at the incomprehensibly beautiful offerings of our earth gives us a feeling of magic, wonder and awe. A Stanford study linked awe to improved patience, increased interest in helping other people, and greater life satisfaction.

4. Nature Travel Improves your Mood and Energizes You

We go for vacation to get away from the grind and to relax and rejuvenate. And we know that travel helps us achieve just that and this has been proven by the researchers at the University of Rochester . They found a direct link between time in nature and increased energy and vitality, even when controlling for the benefits of exercise.

5. Nature Travel Provides Natural Antibiotics

We spend most of the time indoors with no exposure to sunlight and fresh air. Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are still the best for our bodies. A study by the World Health Organization found that adequate sunlight exposure lowers the incidence of major musculoskeletal disorders, autoimmune diseases, and some types of cancers.

Hope these scientific studies have convinced you to reconnect with nature more often to reap a wealth of mental and physical benefits. Have you undertaken nature travel/holidays? Where? And how did it affect you physically and mentally?