Spending time in nature enhances health in SURPRISING ways

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nature-enhances-health(NaturalHealth365)  Most people know that spending time outdoors is good for mind and body.  There is something magical about walking on the beach or going for a nice walk in the park while breathing in fresh, moving air.  Even some doctors recognize the importance of getting outdoors, often “prescribing nature” to their patients.

An impressive body of research suggests that individuals who spend at least two hours a week in nature enjoy better health and wellbeing, but far more ways than you may think.

What is “nature relatedness,” and how does it improve health?

Nature relatedness is the feeling of being connected to nature.  When we feel connected with the natural world around us, we can expect various health benefits such as improved physical and psychological health as well as better cognitive function.  In addition, people who practice nature relatedness also tend to have higher, more profound levels of environmental stewardship.

Recent studies have also found that people who spend more time in nature often have better, healthier dietary habits.  For example, they tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and have a more varied diet.  In other words, when you spend time outside each day, you help your mind and body make better dietary choices, enabling you to become healthier as a result.

So nature relatedness improves your sense of wellbeing both physically and mentally, and it also helps you adopt a healthier diet.  Undoubtedly, changing your diet is not easy; but according to this recent research, getting into nature more often can help you succeed.

Add outdoor time to your daily routine

Living and working in a rural area typically lends itself to outside time fairly easily.  However, if you live and work in the city, it may not be as easy to enjoy the great outdoors.  There are ways that you can still get your time outdoors, though.

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Spend 15 minutes a day sitting outside with your face to the sun.  You can also sit on the grass.  Just do something to get in direct contact with nature.  As an added bonus for your health, get grounded by putting your barefeet on the grass or sand.

Open the curtains and let the natural light in.  Natural light is invigorating and a real mood booster.  If you can open the window for some fresh air, that’s even better.

Take a walk in the park.  Most cities have parks, and many even have “green spaces” for people to enjoy.  Spend a little time in these areas each day, whether on your lunch break or after work.

Get some indoor plants.  Having plants around you in your home or office is an excellent way to bring a little of the outdoors indoors.  Of course, you should still try to spend time outside, but some nice indoor plants can help in a pinch.

Plant some flowers.  Any plants will do, flowering, edible, or decorative; just get in the dirt and plant them.  You can then go out each day to tend to them, watering, pulling weeds, and checking on their progress – it is well worth the effort, and you can do it anywhere, even on your apartment patio or balcony.

Even if you live in the middle of a concrete jungle, you can still find ways to bring nature to you.  Don’t cheat yourself out of these amazing physical and psychological health benefits that it provides.

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