“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” –John Muir
Summer is an ideal time to take advantage of the great outdoors. Whether it is a walk around your neighborhood park, a visit to a nearby lake, or a hiking trip in the woods, this is the time to do it. Studies have shown that exposure to the natural environment can benefit both your physical and mental health. Being outside with nature can boost your immune system, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, and lower your levels of stress hormones. It has also been shown to improve cognition in children with attention deficits.
Being exposed to green spaces outdoors can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. While physical activity is always a bonus, even just sitting in the natural environment outside has meaningful benefits for the human body and in particular the mind. A recent study published in Scientific Reports found that people who spent 2 hours or more in natural environments per week had higher levels of health and well-being. That goal can be attainable.
So put on your sun hat and sunscreen and go outside! We are lucky to have many trails and parks in and around Lincoln. Nearby you can go to Pioneers Park, Wilderness Park, Holmes Lake, or even your own backyard!
“The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments.” Published in Frontiers in Psychology.
“The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes.” Published in Environmental Research Journal.
“Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and well-being.” White MP et al, Published in Scientific Reports.
This article was written by Stephanie Sutton, MD, who is a contributing author to the Sutton Dermatology Blog. Stephanie Sutton is a psychiatrist and she focuses on wellness.