Let’s face it. The pandemic has been hard in a lot of ways. We’ve had to stay inside and away from loved ones and friends. We’ve had to buck up, buckle down and put on our best face working from home – and on Zoom and WebEx, and we’re coming off of our winter season here, which for most means a lot of indoor time even without the pandemic. So now, that Spring is here, it’s time to fling open that door, take in the view and a hearty breath of fresh air. Doing so is proven to have really positive effects on your health:
According to ParkRx, (parkrxamerica.org), a nonprofit whose mission is to decrease the burden of chronic disease, increase health and happiness, and foster environmental stewardship, time in nature decreases anxiety and negative thinking, and it lowers levels of depression and stress. The organization also relays that time in nature helps decrease high blood pressure, and that for those living with diabetes, spending more time in nature and being more physically active, helps control blood sugars.
The National Institutes of Health, Frontiers of Psychology, Nature.com,
PLOS ONE and Semantic Scholar identified these additional benefits of being in nature:
- 10 minutes of gardening or a visit to a public garden can help with depression.
- 20 minutes of hiking among trees, bird watching and being in nature can lower cortisol, the stress hormone.
- 30 minutes of walking in a park setting can lower blood pressure and heart rate.
- 45 minutes or more of hiking in the mountains can bust fatigue and increase alertness. (We’re going to say that the Loess Hills and Sand Hills out west count!)
- 60 minutes spent walking in parks, or even tree-lined streets, can boost memory and attention span by 20%.
And, let’s not forget what our children have gone through. A 2019 Denmark study done in Denmark revealed that adolescents who didn’t spend time in green space were up to 55% more likely to develop depression and anxiety later in life.
As we work out way out of the impact of the pandemic, let’s all vow to spend a little more time outside moving and breathing. It will clear our heads, circulate our blood and move our muscles and bones. We don’t have to start with marathons. As the study data shows, a walk down the street or stroll in a local park will suffice, and as the founder of ParkRx Primary Care physician Dr. Robert Zarr put it, “If you have to start with opening a window, that’s okay.”
Your Think Whole Person Healthcare doctor, nurse and care team stand ready to talk with you about the best and safest outdoor activities for you and your health today. Ask about it at your next visit.