Are You Getting Enough 'Vitamin N'?
Vitamin N is Nature. And nature is nurture.
Walking, gardening, hiking, biking, bird watching and other outdoor activities have health building benefits. Take a walk or a bike ride on our trails or around an area lake, start up a game of Frisbee, or find a serene spot for yoga or stretching - these activities not only help increase our fitness but are excellent ways to relax and relieve tension. Our parks and lakes provide a healthy outlet for fresh air, sunshine and movement.
Research shows there are many therapeutic benefits to being in nature: helping with sleep, boosting energy, and decreasing stress hormones among them. Studies point out that even just a 20-minute 'nature pill' can reduce stress hormones. Adding in several sessions per week, up to 2 hours, has been shown to decrease depression, anxiety and negative thinking. Time in nature can lower blood pressure and even help with blood sugar control for those with diabetes.
Your physical fitness will improve, too. Get outside to help with weight loss goals, as well as reduce your risk of heart disease. Look to local and state park organizations for programs and trails; it can make for a great family and friend activity, too.
For safety, remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and use sunscreen and bug spray as needed.
Our culture promotes too many indoor, sedentary activities. It’s time to promote a “back to nature movement” and reap the positive contributions nature provides for our health. Whether you go it alone or with others, when you do more activities out in nature, you'll gain improved fitness and energy, while reducing tension and depression.