Wednesday, July 11, 2012
(Picture is of the Little Missouri River in my area)
It seems that just being out in nature does your body, mind and soul some good. According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you're likely to be. People who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space. Other studies by researchers in England and Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting with trees, foliage and landscape views, feel more restored, and less anxious, angry and depressed than those runners who burn the same amount of calories in gyms or other urban settings. So even if you have to drive a few miles to find a little green, it's worth it!
So what is it about nature that makes us so much healthier? being outside increases our Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is known to prevent cancer, hormonal problems, obesity, and inflammation, and promotes a healthy immune systeym. . And sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. . Being in a natural setting can also help increase your quality of sleep, as studies show that natural sunlight helps set the body's internal clock that tells us when to eat and sleep, and normalizes hormonal functions that occur at specific times of the day.
Enjoying the outdoors also gives us a break from technology and the on-the-run lifestyle to which we're all so accustomed. When we're outside, we have a clearer, more focused mindset to hang out with friends, or spend some quiet time alone or even play with a pet.
Make being outside a ritual. Go for a morning or evening walk every day. And if you have one, bring your dog.
Try gardening. From a planting vegetable garden to planting a few flowers, both activities get you outside regularly and communing with nature.
Take vacations in beautiful natural places.
Find a trail. Whether hiking or biking is your speed, there are trails around the country for you to explore.
Sit outside. We're always so on-the-go. The next time you need a break, try sitting outside quietly and just appreciate the natural beauty around you! Notice the scents, sights and sounds as you sit quietly and focus on the moment.
Go to a local park.
Commit to the outdoors, rain or shine.