Boost your health and well-being by connecting with nature
Do you know that you and your family can gain lots of health and well-being benefits from being in and enjoying local green and blue spaces?
How does nature play a role in our health and well-being?
We can all make the most of the natural environment to benefit our health and well-being by understanding how it can impact on us and our family and friends.
But what do we mean by health and well-being?
- Health refers to our current physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and illness are absent, so a good position of physical and mental function, free from illness or pain.
- Positive well-being relates to our welfare at a particular point, feeling comfortable, content, secure and happy - a state of wellness.
Please take a look at our video which helps explain all about how the natural environment impacts our health and well-being.
The importance of connecting with nature to boost our health and well-being
There is a growing amount of evidence to show that there are many benefits to being outdoors, including positive effects on both physical and mental health.
Our posters help to explain how nature can boost our health and well-being:
- 5 ways to boost health and well-being through connecting with nature (PDF)
- Being in the natural environment provides well-being benefits (PDF)
- Being in the natural environment can increase physical activity (PDF)
- Outdoor learning can improve academic attainment (PDF)
- The benefits of playing in nature (PDF)
How can we connect with nature to boost our health and well-being?
Being in the outdoors and the natural environment can include many things such as:
- gardening or growing
- visiting and being active in parks and community gardens (green space)
- environments where lakes, rivers and coastal waters are visible (blue space)
- interacting with wildlife and taking part in conservation work.
Things that we do to benefit natural resources, benefit us.
Our page on Nature play and family fun! gives lots of tips on how to get started to bring some benefits from nature into your life, whatever your personal situation.
There is a growing appreciation of the health and well-being benefits we get from nature, and a connection to it. The latest evidence suggests connection to nature is more important for health and well-being than just visiting natural places and spaces.
There is no planet B
A healthy planet is the best way to boost our health and well-being. We should all do more to involve nature in our everyday lives to help it thrive.
Connection to nature is a relationship which we all have the opportunity to form from being in and connecting with the natural environment to starting and keeping lifelong positive pro-nature and pro-environmental behaviours that will motivate all of us to look after our world.
5 steps to health and well-being
Evidence shows there are 5 steps you can take to help improve your health and well-being through connecting with nature. These are:
- be active
- take notice
Get involved in protecting and nurturing nature in your local area. You could:
- litter pick around your local green or blue spaces
- conserve water - it is our most precious resource
- get into growing - grow something from seed, try building a planter box or plant up some pots
- plant a tree – trees slowly remove carbon from the atmosphere
- welcome wildlife – make bird feeders, bug hotels, and animal homes
Learning in, about, and for the natural environment helps us to understand that we are part of nature and need to protect and care for it. Learning nourishes our minds so try to learn something new and wonderful about nature every day.
Research shows that being physically active outdoors is better for us than physical activity elsewhere, making us feel happier. Simply walk or cycle from your doorstep to your local nature spots to connect actively with nature and enjoy huge physical and mental well-being benefits including:
- improving your physical health
- supporting positive mental health
- reducing symptoms of stress
- increasing vitamin D levels
- improving your mood and feeling better
Being more aware of the world around us helps us savour the moment. Noticing nature and its beauty gives us positive feelings. Try noticing 3 good things in nature every day and experience how this can boost your happiness.
People who are connected to nature tend to lead happier more fulfilling lives. Connecting with nature can help you build pro-environmental, positive physical and mental well-being behaviours into your day-to-day life.
You can find a place to connect with nature in one of the woodlands and National Nature Reserves we look after across Wales.
How are we trying to get this good feeling out there?
Our health and well-being depend on how we look after the natural environment.
Natural resources are vital to our health and well-being. The condition of the natural environment and how we interact with it has a major effect on our health.
At NRW, by considering health and well-being in our work, we can look after the environment for the benefit of people as well as for nature.