Have you ever heard the phrase, “The fresh air will do you some good?” Most likely, you have, and that saying has never been more true as there are numerous health benefits of spending more time outdoors.
In fact, even just viewing nature can have positive effects on your mental and physical well-being. Research studies also found that a simple plant in a room can significantly reduce anxiety and stress.
According to a recent study conducted by the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, people who spent 120 minutes per week in natural environments were substantially more likely to report good psychological and physical well-being than those who did not.
It’s no secret that the stress of an unpleasant environment can make you feel sad, anxious, or helpless. This, in turn, elevates your heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. On the other hand, a relaxing, peaceful environment can make you feel calmer and even healthier. This is because what you see, hear, and experience not only changes your mood, it impacts how your endocrine, nervous, and immune systems work.
In another study, 95% of participants said their mood significantly improved after spending time in nature, changing from stressed, anxious, and depressed to more calm and balanced.
Learn more about how to de-stress and improve your mentality by reading our blog Meditation for a More Positive Mind and Life.
The health benefits of being in nature even extend to our memory and ability to pay attention. Inherently, people find nature interesting and are better able to focus on what they are experiencing outdoors, which also provides a respite for distractions and their overactive minds.
Further, a study by the University of Michigan found that participants who walked in nature then took a memory test did 20% better than those who took the test first then took a walk.
Exploring nature isn’t the only way to boost your memory. Check out our blog 7 Foods to Help Boost Your Memory + Best Brain Games for All Ages to learn more.
Not only are there a variety of mental health benefits of being in nature, the great outdoors can also help you physically. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of walking and exercising, being outdoors can even help you cope with pain. As mentioned above, nature can offer a great distraction including from pain and discomfort.
Physician Robert Ulrich conducted a study on patients who underwent gallbladder surgery in which half the patients had views of trees in their room and the others just had a view of a wall. The patients with the view of trees were able to tolerate pain better, had fewer negative effects, and stayed in the hospital for less time than the others.
While Texas is best known for its sports, barbecue, and rodeos, what many people don’t realize is that it is also home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. The Lone Star State features many natural marvels, and thanks to the state’s large size, you can find mountain views in one part and undisturbed beaches in another.
Here are a few of our favorite Texas nature spots where you can get your fix of the great outdoors while also enjoying some of the many health benefits of being in nature:
Located in Dripping Springs, Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve is a natural pool in the Texas Hill Country that draws visitors from around the world.
Say hello to “The Grand Canyon of Texas.” Palo Duro Canyon features natural cave formations surrounded by mesquite and juniper trees. Known as the second-largest canyon in the U.S., it offers spectacular views of Texas nature.
The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is not only one of the most undisturbed wilderness areas in the U.S., but it’s also home to the highest point in Texas: the 8,479-foot-tall Guadalupe Peak. This park is perfect for enjoying Texas nature at its finest with hiking, horseback riding, camping, backpacking, and bird watching.
According to the U.S. National Park Service, Padre Island National Seashore is the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. The short offers 70 miles of untouched Texas coastline, perfect for a sunny beach day.
With more than 800,000 acres, it’s no wonder that Big Bend National Park is one of the largest national parks in the country. Fondly known as an oasis for Texas nature lovers, the park offers a variety of outdoor activities including mountain biking, boating, hiking, fishing, and backpacking.
This perennial karstic spring in the small town of Wimberley, Texas, went viral on social media a few years ago for its breathtaking swimming oasis. The spring features a 12-foot-diameter mouth and a 30-feet-deep swimming hole that makes for a unique spot to cool off and one of the longest underwater caves in Texas nature.
Looking to enjoy some hiking trails locally? Here are a few of our favorite hiking spots in North Texas:
Located at 100 Mill Wood Drive in Colleyville, the nature trail is an easy 2.1-mile loop trail suitable for all ages. Most of the trail is shaded making a great hike even in warmer weather. Visitors can enjoy scenic views of several ponds and local small wildlife, as well as wildflowers that bloom in the springtime.
A small park located within the suburbs outside of Dallas, Spring Creek Forest is a small park located at 1770 Holford Road. The trail is 1.1 miles long and offers an easy hike for all ages to enjoy.
Adjacent to Cedar Hill State Park, the preserve spans over 600 acres and features 12 trails each of which spans 2 to 5.4 miles long. The most popular trail is Cedar Brake Trail, which is a 2.2-mile loop with various elevation changes and spectacular scenic vi
Fondly called the “hidden treasure of Dallas,” the Katy Trail is one of the most well-known, popular hikes in the DFW metroplex. The trail is 7.5 miles long from Houston Street in Uptown Dallas to Airline Road in Highland Park.
For a more challenging hike, the North Shore Trail offers 18 miles of scenic lake views. Located on Fairway Drive in Grapevine, this moderate hiking trail is also popular for mountain bikers. Hiking in the spring and fall is recommended for cooler weather and more shade. End your hike at the southern trailhead near sunset and you’ll experience a beautiful view of the sunset over a rocky shoreline.
Looking for additional Texas nature spots to enjoy the health benefits of being in nature? Download our free nature guide to discover the five best hiking trails in Texas below!