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Well Amongst Nature: The Many Health Benefits of an Outdoor Holiday

There are three types of vacations: (1) the one with every museum visit, lunch break and public transit schedule planned out; (2) the one centered on spa treatments and leisurely shopping trips; and (3) the one that gets your adrenaline flowing, limbs moving and eyes opened to the wonders of the great outdoors.

While the first two types have their benefits—experiencing culture, history, and relaxation are all wonderful and important—it’s the active, adventurous types of vacations that have the most to offer. Here are five reasons to break out your hiking boots, backpacks and sweat-wicking clothes for your next trip away from home.

1. Exercise is easier and more enjoyable within nature.

You’ve heard the saying “seeing green” in relation to envy, but, when taken literally, it has a more positive connotation. One study showed that being surrounded by green actually made workouts seem less strenuous. Another study revealed that exercising in a green environment (i.e. nature) has positive effects on mood and self-esteem. So, not only will a hike through lush, green forests seem easier than an urban climb; it’ll be a better mood-boosting activity.

2. Being outdoors is great for your mental health.

You don’t have to be moving during your entire vacation to reap the benefits of your surroundings. Simply taking a walk or meditating is more beneficial in a remote, green environment than in a city. Consider adding outdoor yoga or a stroll among the trees to your trip itinerary.

3. You’ll breathe easier and better amid more trees and fewer buildings.

Trees help reduce air pollution and improve the quality of air that we breathe. A remote vacation in the great outdoors offers you a chance to breathe better air. With your lungs as happy as ever, you can focus more on exploring waterfalls, bird watching or simply admiring the beauty around you.

4. Your immune system will get a boost long after your visit.

A Japanese study found that after just a few days in a forest, your immune system reaps the benefits for up to 30 days after you leave. Not only are you likely to feel better while on vacation, but you’ll likely feel better weeks after your return as well.

5. Physical activity (and a break from work) leads to increased productivity.

For those of you feeling overworked at your job, a vacation where you don’t leave your hotel room might sound like a dream. However, if you work in an office, you’re likely to experience even more benefits from an adventurous vacation than a sedentary one. Balancing your work with a break for physical activity is shown to increase your productivity in the long run. So, go book yourself an island adventure filled with snorkeling excursions or a deep-diving experience. Your body and your boss will appreciate it.

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