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The Power of Getting Outdoors: Recent Studies Prove that Nature is Beneficial for Veterans

Veterans Day brings additional attention to our nation’s veterans. The brave men and women who serve our country not only put their lives on hold but also face the dangers of war. Many who serve also deal with the gravity of being in the military, and studies show nearly 23% of veterans have PTSD. Fortunately for some, this weight is lifted by being outdoors. Multiple studies prove being in nature is beneficial for veterans.

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) recently shared multiple studies on how nature positively impacts mental health. The organization focuses on outdoor education and the benefits of incorporating the natural world into our daily lives.

The power of nature became mainstream in recent years following the pandemic as many avoided burnout by heading outside. This drive to get outdoors brought record numbers of visitors to national parks. The movement has led to countless studies that prove getting into the woods is the way to go. Those dealing with added stress and anxiety should take note.

Studies Proving Nature is Beneficial for Veterans

A 2020 study in the UK brought multiple veteran groups to participate in outdoor activities. In two separate examples, they found those who have PTSD found relief when they took part in surfing or fishing. The study acknowledges the recent increase in nature as part of someone’s mental health, but the study goes a step further, proving how important this could be for veterans as many found improvements to their mental help.

A similar study in 2022 found additional benefits for veterans in the outdoors. Not only does participating in outdoor group activities relieve PTSD, stress, and anxiety, but it does so without the stigma. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get help for mental health due to beliefs that it won’t help. Others worry that society will look down on them. An outdoor activity makes it easier to receive the positive impacts of nature without even thinking about it.

benefits of nature for veterans
(Source: Veterans Outdoor Alliance)

There are now multiple organizations that use the healthy benefits of nature to help veterans get outdoors. The Veteran Outdoor Alliance has created a list of these organizations, including groups focused on fishing, diving, backpacking, and other outdoor activities. 

The combination of veterans and the outdoors doesn’t stop there. Bear Grylls, a survivalist and adventurer, is a veteran himself. He’s spoken numerous times about working with others who have served in the military and how outdoor adventures have benefited himself and others.

The National Park Service also honors veterans, active service members, and families of those who served with access to our parks. Learn more about that here.

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