Nature Deficit Disorder is not a diagnosed condition but rather a term made popular by author and child advocacy expert Richard Louv in his 2005 best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods. In it, Louv explains that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. What he encourages individuals to do is simply to return to nature, to turn off the screens and go for hikes, go for a walk, take your family fishing and just spend more time playing outdoors.
I recent scientific study investigated the impact of nature on our cognitive functions. Participants were randomly assigned to complete 50-minutes walks either in an urban or a natural setting. Psychological assessments were conducted on each participant prior to and following their walks. Those who took the natural route demonstrated decreased anxiety levels and increased working memory performance among other things.
What this means is that we’re not spending enough time outside, enjoying our surroundings. Walking from the train station to your office in a busy city isn’t giving you peace. It’s not helping your hearth or your blood pressure or your stress and anxiety levels any more than ordinary exercise would. For some people they just need that little extra. Try talking a walk down a local foot trail or taking your bike on an adventure to a local path. In our community especially we have countless opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature.
For more information on local trails, events, and resources visit: www.Platteville.com
Bratman, G., Daily, G., Levy, B., & Gross, J. (2015). The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 41-50.