My Q Health | 10 Great Reasons to Get Outside More Often
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10 Great Reasons to Get Outside More Often

10 Great Reasons to Get Outside More Often

by Dr. Cyndi Gilbert, ND

July 19, 2015 

Humans are drawn to nature. We feel better when we spend time in forests, gardens, or parks. Edward O. Wilson termed this desire to connect with nature “biophilia.” It implies that an instinctive bond exists between humans and other living systems.

Similar ideas are echoed in the cultural practices of friluftsliv, the Scandinavian philosophy of open air living, and in shinrin-yoku, Japanese forest immersion (or “forest bathing”). And there’s science to back up those warm fuzzies. So, if you need more motivation to make time for a jaunt outside (or convince someone to join you), you’ve come to the right place.

1. Nature deficit disorder exists, and most of us have it.

Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe the social, behavioral, and health consequences of alienation from the natural world. Although scientists are just beginning to understand the health impacts of urban, mostly indoor living, one thing is clear — we need to put down our devices and get outside.

2. It’s good for your heart (literally).

Japanese researchers have shown that forest bathing, the practice of sitting in the forest, lowers your blood pressure, pulse, and heart rate variability. It has also been shown to decrease stress hormone levels.

3. You’re less likely to be overweight.

In both kids and adults, access and exposure to nature has been shown to lower the risk of obesity. This relationship is most likely due to increased physical activity. Additional studies show that forest bathing decreasesblood sugar and cortisol, both of which are also associated with obesity.

4. You’ll be happier and improve your memory.

People who live close to nature experience less anxiety and depression. Walking in nature has been shown to improve mood and short-term memory in people with depression, as well as decrease rumination(repetitive, negative thoughts) and brain activity associated with mental illness.

To read full article, visit MindBodyGreen.

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