The importance of nature

By: Tasha Cudinski

Nature is all around us. There are 66 state parks in Minnesota and many other natural areas that are open for visitors. Even though we have all of this natural space it is rarely taken advantage of, instead choosing to spend time in cities made of concrete.

Studies have shown that there are massive benefits to people who spend time outside with others. According to several studies on visitors to parks, spending time outside can actually boost your immune system by doing things such as lowering your blood pressure and increasing the amount of white blood cells in your body.

There have also been studies that indicate that spending time outdoors can help with your mental health, such as one study which showed time in nature to help decrease symptoms of PTSD in military veterans by 21%. There is not much understanding about how nature is capable of this, but one theory is that this happens because of the awe that nature inspires in those that observe it.

Nature is a wonderful resource but it also has a long and dark history of racial violence and segregation. For a very long time minorities were kept out of the picture when it came to natural spaces. For the people who come from a background of racial bias and discrimination, nature is not associated with the same thoughts and feelings that it may be for white people. In many instances nature is associated with the idea of violence and even lynchings. Because of this there are significantly fewer people of color who visit outdoor areas.

Nature has been shown to be beneficial to people’s health and if you have the opportunity to, try and spend some time outside with people you care about. It will not only help you make some happy memories, but it will also help boost your physical and mental health.

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