The Health Benefits of Nature
Parks are multipurpose greenspaces that improve physical and mental health. In addition to exercise, the outdoors provides venues that encourage community building and improved social wellbeing. Below are resources that curate and summarize scientific literature about the health benefits of nature:
The Children & Nature research library provides summaries of peer-reviewed literature on the health benefits of nature for children.
The Active Living Research tools and research center offers a collection of peer-reviewed papers, reports, and publications around how being physically active outdoors benefits children, families, and communities.
This literature review by Fumpkin et al. (2017), builds upon current research on the benefits of spending time in nature and proposes possible research agendas within seven areas: 1) mechanistic biomedical studies, 2) exposure science, 3) epidemiology of health benefits, 4) diversity and equity consideration, 5) technological nature, 6) economic and policy studies, and 7) implementation science.
This review by Keniger et al. (2013), breaks down the health benefits of nature, the interactions between people and nature, and the settings in which interactions between people and nature occur into specific typologies— in an attempt to understand how the benefits of nature are being studied.
This review by James et al. (2015), discusses the health benefits of green spaces, and the ways in which it may positively contribute to human health.
The Health Benefits of Nature Infographic
Below is an infographic that highlights a few of the physical, mental, and social benefits of nature found within the research literature. This graphic was created in 2016 by the Institute at the Golden Gate, and was originally featured within the Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area Roadmap for Collaboration report.
Courtesy of the Institute at the Golden Gate