The science behind feeling good in nature

The pandemic is taking a toll on the health of people. Americans sit and remain stationary for up to six hours on average, according to an article by Healthline. That’s four hours more than what the average was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With such a sedentary lifestyle occurring at a crucial point during this pandemic, cardiovascular health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain are health risks that can affect one’s immune response in the case they contract COVID-19.

However, there is a solution to this dilemma, and it addresses both mental and physical health. 

Publications from the Harvard Health Letter state that just being within nature induces positive impacts within your body’s biochemistry, even if you may not see or feel it immediately. 

Natural sunlight provides physical and psychological biochemical reactions to the human body. Natural rays of sunlight admit vitamin D, which is absorbed through our skin, helps strengthen the immune system and bone structures. Vitamin D intake also triggers the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone in the brain.

Some people go outside to get away from their screens.

“It helps to relieve stress from our daily lives on the computer for me,” said environmental science & management major Christian Trujillo.

Natural areas such as forests tend to have better air qualities than most cities due to vegetation. Neuroscience News explains how higher quality of air is beneficial for overall respiratory health. Fresh air triggers a release of destressing hormones. These biochemical reactions combat the production of cortisol, a stress hormone known to have a strenuous effect on the cardiovascular system and one’s psychological health. 

Overall, being within the natural environment allows people to become a part of the natural ecosystem, similar to when humans were nomadic. The combination of physical and mental sensory factors allows individuals a newer, more proactive set of stimuli, all of which can improve health during this pandemic.

Featured image by Lupita Rivera

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