As a species we need to move more and get out more. Humans now spend so much time indoors that many of us are cultivating a variety of serious health complaints. Hip, knee and back pain are increasingly being linked to ‘sitting’ more and moving less. Weight gain is a consequence of some many environmental problems, being indoors more and moving less are obvious consequences. Mental health problems and anxiety are linked to the amount of time being spent on digital devices. Studies have shown that exposure to nature may reduce allergy risks by more than 90% and vitamin D has a positive effect on our immune system.
I’m fascinated by research showing particular shapes in nature called fractals are visually appealing and stress-relieving.
A fractal is a pattern that the laws of nature repeat at different scales. Examples are everywhere in the forest. Trees are natural fractals, patterns that repeat smaller and smaller copies of themselves to create the biodiversity of a forest.
The impact of nature’s aesthetics is surprisingly powerful. In the 1980s, architects found that patients recovered more quickly from surgery when given hospital rooms with windows looking out on nature.
Being in nature can reduce stress and change our health at a cellular level. A study conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trusts of the UK’s first month-long nature challenge, involved people “doing something wild” every day for 30 consecutive days, and showed scientifically and statistically that there was a significant increase in people’s health, happiness, connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers for bees – not just throughout the challenge, but sustained for months after the challenge had been completed.
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