Researchers the University of East Anglia looked into the health benefits of spending time in nature, with some interesting findings. Doctoral candidate Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett and Professor of Public Health Andy Jones, PhD, did a large meta-study. Twohig-Bennett said:
"We gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost. We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration. People living close to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure."
And Jones noted:
"We often reach for medication when we’re unwell but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognized as both preventing and helping treat disease."
Apparently, this is an area of much ongoing research in Japan, where this practice is known as forest bathing. There is this intriguing comment from Twohig-Bennett:
Much of the research from Japan suggests that phytoncides-organic compounds with antibacterial properties-released by trees could explain the health-boosting benefits of forest bathing.
Get those hiking boots out and enjoy the leaves changing colors.