“Nature is good for mind, body and soul.” ~ David Suzuki
The sound of birds singing, the warmth of the sun on our skin, the smell of earth and fresh grass is enough to make anyone feel instantly better.
But beyond the positive psychological effects, several clinical studies claim the outdoors have many benefits for our physical health.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
~ Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl
Here are five healthy reasons to get outside:
Raise Vitamin D Levels.
When sunlight hits the skin, it activates vitamin D in our body. Studies suggest this vitamin helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks. Limited sun exposure (don’t overdo it), supplemented with vitamin D pills (if necessary), is a good regimen.
If we make getting outside a goal, that means less time in front of the television and computer, and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion.
Light tends to elevate people’s moods, and there’s usually more natural light available outside than inside. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles.
Children with ADHD have been shown to focus better after being outdoors. If adults also have trouble concentrating, outdoor activity may help.
In one study, people recovering from spinal surgery experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications when they were exposed to natural light. Another study proved the view outside the hospital window (trees vs. a brick wall) helped recovery in the hospital.
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Apprentice Editor: Shannon Costello / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Provided by author