Get Outside Back to Nature By Rachel Schwartzman #WellbeingWednesday
It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of August, time to get outside and soak up all that summer has to offer. Statistics are quite low for time spent outdoors, and we see more kids on portable devices than kicking around the soccer ball. So, today’s Wellbeing Wednesday tip is all about the importance of getting outside, exploring nature, and disconnecting from technology.
Mood: Research shows that after five minutes of outdoor time, people’s moods improve and self-esteem goes up. If water is present, like a pond or stream, the feelings of happiness are even greater. The research on Exercise for depression, is equal to or better than medication. Exercise boosts dopamine and oxytocin levels, two hormones responsible for happiness and love. Think about moving your body outside daily to increase your dose of happiness.
Focus and Concentration: According to a study published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from everyday stimulation, which has a restorative effect on your attention levels. I believe most people can use a break from over-thinking (I know I can!), just don’t forget to put your smart phone away, so you can really enjoy the surroundings.
Improve your Immune Health: It was found that people who spend more time in nature had an increase in natural killer cells, which are needed to eliminate viruses and cancer cells from our bodies. So in fact, being in nature, really is good for your health, with these benefits lasting up to 7 days.
Vitamin D: Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, depression and cardiac episodes. We want to be mindful of how much time we spend in the sun for skin health, but if you know you are not going to get outside, than a supplement is something to consider.
Respect the environment: It has been shown that kids under the age of 11 that spend time in nature, take better care of our environment, an important lesson to be learned not just for our children but for future generations. Check out local organizations, such as The Pine Project, that promote the love and respect of nature starting at a young age.
I hope you get to explore your neighbourhood and surroundings, it’s a great way to connect to nature and all its beauty. There really are so many benefits, and before we know winter will be here and we’ll be wishing for these glorious days.
Rachel Schwartzman is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Doula and Acupuncturist. She practices in Toronto and can be reached at 416-371-3422. To learn more about Dr. Rachel take a peek at rachelschwartzman.com