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Monday, July 11, 2016

Nature and its Benefits on the Mind and Body

Research and many studies have proven how the effects of being in nature for even a few minutes a day can have a remarkable effect on one's health. Taking time to be outdoors has been said to stimulate areas of our brains that can give us a mental and physical boost in energy.  I know when I take even a 15 minute break to go for a walk or hop on my bike for a ride I feel so much better and re-energized and am then able to focus so much better on my work. Exercising outdoors is reported to provide us with more health benefits than performing exercise in a gym or indoor fitness facility. Spending time outdoors can not only increase our energy but may quite likely impact our happiness. Nature can revitalize us and have a positive impact on our brains. 

A book called  'Your Brain On Nature' has been an interesting read.  The authors have gathered some great information and statistics on this subject.  Some quotes from authors Eva M. Selhub MD and Alan C. Logan ND stated "In a large study done on residents of Shanghai, researchers reported that neighborhoods with a higher proportion of parks, gardens, and other green areas were associated with a reduced risk of mortality. "  Another U.S. study from the University of West Florida, showed that researchers found after examining 5 years worth of data on stroke mortality they found that those living in areas with a high geographic green space offered significant protection while areas with low green space were associated with a very high risk of stroke mortality."  Very interesting, I'm glad we have a lot of green space around our neighborhood and easy access to amazing outdoor walking trails, hiking, biking as well as lakes and oceans not too far away. 

Let's face it working in an office, staring and screens and walls doesn't do a whole lot for one's health. We need to stimulated to do our best work and the effects of nature can surely help us improve our health, lower stress and improve our immune system. Not to mention increase your longevity. I don't know about you but I'm in! As far as work, time spent in nature can help increase your focus, creativity and production.  Eva M. Selhub co-author of  'Your Brain on Nature' says " a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it stimulates reward neurons in your brain." It turns off the stress response, lowering cortisol levels, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and improves immune response. 

I know it's not possible for everyone to get outside during the business day but when you can incorporate a few minutes of nature into your day, even a walk to the coffee shop can give you a boost of energy and help you refocus on your tasks. 

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