I believe that mental and physical health is dependent upon a person’s own needs and beliefs. I know plenty of people who never really go out of their way to visit nature and they are plenty healthy and live fulfilling lives.
I think there is a connection. Humans evolved as part of nature, but now we are typically not surrounded by it as much as in the past. There have been studies into the psychological health of humans as it connects to nature.
E.O. Wilson does some research on this idea.
I’ve listed a few links to publications.
Visiting nature is a way to truly appreciate it. Hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities promote exercise which does improve general health. Taking in the beautiful sights is a great way to relieve stress and paves the way for future trips to get away from busy, everyday life. As one who travels often to national parks, I think visiting natural places is essential.
It can certainly help but definitely is not a necessity. Just as the ‘opposite’ is true, that someone who never steps foot inside of a gym could be just as healthy (or healthier) than a gym rat who spends 2-3 hours a day there. That being said, if we’re talking about overall health, as opposed to just physical, people do feel a certain connection and sometimes even spiritual elevation when they spend time outdoors and in natural settings.
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