Psychologists say it’s a MUST!
A 2015 study, also done at Stanford, found that those who walked in nature experienced less anxiety, rumination (focused attention on negative aspects of oneself), and negative affect, as well as more positive emotions, such as happiness.
Researchers at Stanford University found that people who walk for 90 minutes in nature (as opposed to high-traffic urban settings) “showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression” but little physiological differences than those who walked for 90 minutes in a city, according to Stanford news.
Nature wins over daily pressure
One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol - a hormone often used as a marker for stress - than those who spent that time in the city. In another study, researchers found a decrease in both heart rate and levels of cortisol in subjects in the forest when compared to those in the city. "Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy," they concluded.
Among office workers, even the view of nature out a window is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.
We know that natural environment is "restorative," and one thing that a walk outside can restore is your waning attention. In one early study, researchers worked to deplete participants' ability to focus. Then some took a walk in nature, some took a walk through the city, and the rest just relaxed. When they returned, the nature group scored the best on a proofreading task.
The attentional effect of nature is so strong it might help kids with ADHD, who have been found to concentrate better after just 20 minutes in a park. "'Doses of nature' might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool ... for managing ADHD symptoms," researchers wrote.
Other studies have found similar results - even seeing a natural scene through a window can help.
Moderate to vigorous activity and time outdoors correlates to better academic performance.
A Finnish study of boys and girls in first through third grades found that moderate to vigorous activity—especially in boys—directly correlated to better reading fluency, reading comprehension and arithmetic skills. The children who lead more sedentary lives has poorer skills in both reading and math. Similar studies on older children achieved similar results.
Sunlight can help prevent myopia in children
Myopia or nearsightedness (caused by a elongation of the eyeball) has been on the rise in children in recent years. But researchers worldwide have found that lack of exposure to sunlight is a major cause of myopia in children. The researchers recommend two to three hours of sunlight (even not very bright sunlight is fine) per day to prevent children from developing myopia.
Immune system helper
The cellular activity that is associated with a forest's possible anti-cancer effects is also indicative of a general boost to the immune system you rely on to fight off less serious ills, like colds, flus, and other infections.
A 2010 review of research related to this effect noted that "all of these findings strongly suggest that forest environments have beneficial effects on human immune function," but acknowledged that more research on the relationship is needed.
Sharper thinking and boosted creativity
Many researches suggest the possibility of a positive relationship between creative thinking and the outdoors. For example, when some college students were asked to repeat sequences of numbers back to the researchers after a walk in the park, it proved that they were much more accurate after a walk in nature than they were before. This finding built on previous research that showed how nature can restore attention and memory.
Another study found that people immersed in nature for four days - significantly more time than a lunchtime walk in the park - boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50%.