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Researchers Say Outside Green Space Boosts Wellness

By Sandy Schroeder

You may just automatically feel better when you are outside. I do. As soon as spring arrives, I find myself inventing excuses to be outside. Now, it appears there is a scientific basis for that urge to be outdoors.

Harvard Health researchers studied over 100,000 women, evaluating their health and closeness to green areas. They found the ones who lived the closest to greenery (about a tenth a mile) had a 13 percent lower cancer mortality rate, 35 percent lower respiratory disease rate, and a 40 percent lower kidney disease rate.

They believe living closer to greenery may also provide a lower level of air pollution, encourage more physical activity, and lead to increased levels of Vitamin D, which helps fight depression.

Other studies have shown being outside enjoying nature increases overall feelings of well-being.

Making the Most of Green Space

Green space also encourages individuals to be out walking, biking or jogging.  Researchers found most of the women living closer to greenery were more physically active.

Wherever you live, you can boost your wellness with greenery. You could start with a small garden, or create an outdoor room with lots of greenery, cushions and benches. Gradually fill it with your favorite rocks, glass and plants, and make it a retreat for meditation, or just a place to hide out when you need a little quiet.

As the weather warms, you can move your workout outdoors, or spend time biking in the park.  If you have younger children, walks after work collecting leaves or small stones can be a great way to get outside while spending time with your children.

Look for Special Spots Outdoors

Your community may also offer outdoor yoga or tai chi classes, or wilderness hikes, and nature studies.

You might make a summer trip a camping outing, or a tour of a National Park. A friend of mine found a ranch within driving distance of her home. She started taking her family there for vacations when the children were young. Now the kids are grown, but they still meet there in the summer. It has become a treasured tradition.

If you already have a garden, you may make outdoor dining, barbecues and games a bigger part of your family routines. This may be the time to set up a badminton or basketball court.

If you are an apartment dweller, you might bring a few plants inside or see if your area has community gardens. Some urban areas are also doing rooftop gardens.

Wherever you find your greenery, don’t be surprised if it seems to make everything a little bit better.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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