Connecting with Nature: A Scientific Look

connecting with nature

Connecting with Nature: A Scientific Look

Technology and urban living dominate our daily routines, but for most of our existence, humans have been at home in wilderness. The health benefits of engaging and connecting with nature have been speculated on by philosophical thinkers for hundreds of years, but what does science have to say?

Recent research indicates that spending time in nature, not just as a leisure activity, but as an intentional wellness practice could have major impact on physical and mental health. 

Try and get out into green spaces for at least two hours a week

A recent study conducted at the UK's University of Exeter, found that adults who spend at least 120 minutes per week in natural settings—be it parks, woodlands, or riversides—report significantly better health and well-being. This isn't about indulgent retreats or arduous adventures; rather, the simple act of routinely visiting nearby nature can imbue one with a long-lasting sense of vitality. The study’s rigor comes from its use of sophisticated statistical models that cut through the noise of daily life variables, like where one lives or economic status, pointing to a truth that stands robust: nature nurtures.

Try green exercise for cardiac health and better sleep

Diving deeper, the advantages of such engagements extend beyond ephemeral feelings of contentment. For instance, the concept of green exercise, which blends physical activity with the verdant hues of nature, has been shown to enhance physiological markers such as heart rate variability (HRV). HRV serves as a barometer for the health of the heart’s rhythmic patterns and the body’s overall resilience to stress. A stroll through a leafy park, as opposed to a walk down bustling city streets, not only clears the mind but also fortifies the heart, enabling it to dance smoothly between beats—an indicator of a relaxed and responsive autonomic nervous system, that lays the foundation for better sleep. 

Nature prescriptions to lower your blood pressure and your anxiety 

Expanding this green prescription, a review in The Lancet spanning 92 studies revealed how nature-based interventions could play a pivotal role in managing and mitigating various health conditions. Such prescriptions have been proven to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly and to foster mental health improvements equivalent to the effects seen in some clinical interventions for depression and anxiety. Moreover, individuals following nature's call through these prescribed interactions observed an increase in physical activity, with a significant increase in steps per day.

Green living is healthy living 

These studies collectively paint a compelling picture of how essential the natural world is to human health. The layered benefits range from the immediate—enhanced mood and reduced stress—to the enduring, including improved cardiovascular health and mental wellness. The evidence suggests that regular intervals spent under the canopy of trees or beside the gentle flow of rivers are not mere escapades from reality but are vital pieces of the mosaic that is human health. Whether by the hand of policymakers fostering public access to green spaces or health professionals prescribing nature as medicine, the path forward is clear and inviting.

In this age of screens and urban sprawl, it's the ancient whispers of the natural world that call us back to health, urging us to reconnect with the elemental rhythms that have sustained humans through millennia. As leaves rustle and waters flow, they carry the secrets of wellness, the peace found in nature is not just a luxury, but a necessity.



Check out the rest of our journal for the latest news in neuroscience, health, and wellness. If you’re feeling alfresco, what better time to get a few bottles of Sentia for your picnic basket. You can find some springtime recipes on our mixology page, or on our Instagram and tiktok.