Do You Need a Nature RX?


Did you know that doctors in the US and other countries are now prescribing Nature? Yep, a Nature RX! Just spend time outside! It's true, the benefits of even 20 minutes in nature are huge and can help improve your overall wellness.


Spending time outside is good for our mental health and physical health and you don't need any special equipment, just walk out the front door! Start with 10 minutes and see if you you can build up, but make being outside a healthy habit.


Studies have consistently linked time outdoors to better health outcomes, here are some of the possible benefits:


  • Decrease in diabetes

  • Lower blood pressure levels

  • Reduced Stress

  • Increased energy

  • Improved sleep

  • Lower heart rate

  • Improved immune system

  • Reduced anxiety

  • Improved cholesterol

  • Reduced inflammation

  • Help reduce obesity

  • Can improve focus

  • Can improve creativity


Many of these benefits occur simply from being outside, studies have shown that just looking out a window at trees can lower our stress levels! Thank about what the real thing can do! Coupling the time outdoors with things like a walk, hiking, boating, frisbee, running, etc. can improve our health outcome even more.


A few things to try:

  • 20 minutes sitting outside

  • A short walk; There is evidence that even a small walk in urban areas can provide benefit

  • Try "earthing", let your body touch the earth, skin to earth. I like to go barefoot. Be safe, watch for broken items and filth. Try sitting in the grass with bare legs, or slip your feet out of your shoes while you sit in the park.

  • Take nature trails. Many trails are flat and easy to use, if you are a beginner don't worry there is a trail for you.

  • Meet friends at the park instead of home or the coffee shop - you can bring your coffee with you

  • Try holding a meeting in a local park or back yard. Book clubs are ideal for this.

  • More adventurous? Map out the local hiking areas and make a plan to try all of them this year.

  • Go camping

  • Spend an evening around a bonfire

  • Don't let weather stop you, studies show that a short walk even when it's cold is beneficial.

  • A walk in the rain is awesome, the colors are beautiful

  • Take a nap outside

  • Sit on your stoop, deck, porch etc. I'm front the south and sitting on the stoop in the summer is a social activity!


Excuses I will not accept; excuses I've heard:


  • Bugs- yes there are bugs outside, but you will be fine especially if you choose a less buggy season and use a non-toxic bug sprayD

  • Dirt- yep, there is dirt too. It's ok, it washes off and actually helps improve your immune system. PS if you garden, studies show digging in the dirt helps our mood too.

  • Sweat - Yes you might sweat, sweating is good for you, it's your bodies regulatory system and filters toxins which can boost your immune system. It also washes off.

  • Lack of energy - As crazy as it sounds, this is a good reason to go for a walk. A short walk can help you feel invigorated and energized. And you can always sit on the stoop and soak in the sunshine!

  • It's too cold - You will not catch a cold from going out in the cold, you will reap the benefits of fresh air and improved health. Dress appropriately and aim for 10 minutes to start with. Take your phone or a camera and observe nature in winter for a new experience.

Two possible allowable excuses:

  • Asthma - consult your doctor first, there is evidence that with caution and wisdom time spend doing outdoor activities can be helpful.

  • Allergies - consult your doctor first, together come up with a plan to be able to have time outside, there are some healthy ways to do this and with your doctors guidance you can make it work.


If you are new to spending time outside pick a time this weekend and start. Take a little walk, without electronic devices, or just sit outside a few minutes and take note of how you felt before and after. If you are an outdoorsy person, keep at it!


I'm not a doctor, but we all need a Nature RX!


This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms of disease and is for entertainment and education not medical purposes.


 


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