A stroll outside on a sunny day is a great pick-me-up. Now it may also be just what the doctor ordered. The benefits of nature for both body and soul are finding their way to the prescription pad as more health care providers are telling their patients to take a hike — literally.
The warmth of the sun on your skin, the sounds of the birds in the treesstepping outside can help anyone feel instantly better. But it turns out that the perks of greener environs reach far beyond your mood: In their new book, Your Brain on Nature, Eva Selhub, MD, and naturopath Alan Logan explore the incredible physiological effects of being outdoorsincluding increased immune activity and less perceived effort during exercise (see ya, treadmill!). Read on for five research-backed ways to experience nature's healing touch.
Reap While You Sow
Norwegian researchers discovered that subjects with moderate-severe depression who participated in a horticultural program experienced reduced symptoms after 12 weeks. “Humans are innately engaged in nature,” says study author Marianne Thorsen Gonzalez, PhD, making gardening an ideal distraction from the rumination that fuels depression.
Exercise in the Open Air
A 2011 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that people who walked on an outdoor track …
Knowing the value of what nature gives us — and, through that knowledge, helping others work more sustainably — is at the forefront of biodiversity conservation work today and critical to the Conservancy’s vision for a healthy and prosperous planet.