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Better Health: The Outdoors Are Calling!

By Genevieve Smith

The great outdoors -- what makes them so great? Getting outside can benefit your health in numerous ways. Wilderness and fresh air have served as a prescribed remedy for centuries. From the color palette to the actual quality of air, there are measurable ways in which the outdoors can affect your health and stress levels. To get involved in nature, it all starts with a step outside!

Nature As an Age-Old Remedy

Over a millenia ago, doctors regularly advised the ill to get out into greenery, whether it be through walking or gardening. Over the last century, healthcare shifted towards a preference for sterile environments. Yet recent studies show that patients who engage with nature have quicker recovery times and a reduced need for pain relief. Recognizing the physiological benefits of the outdoors, some hospitals are taking note and incorporating the outside in through texture, color and video, while some doctors go bold and are writing prescriptions to simply “Go outside.”

How the Wild Benefits You

While perks of the outdoors are scientifically measureable, it's undeniable how much better being out in nature makes one feel. A bike ride or a brisk walk is invigorating, sparking the flow of adrenaline and activating your mind through exploration. Anecdotally, seeing the color green promotes relaxation and well-being. But did you know that inhaling the forest or breathing in your garden comes with benefits, too? A friendly soil-dwelling bacterium going by the name Mycobacterium vaccae lingers in the air of these spaces and boosts you up. Inhaling it is known to increase your flow of serotonin, and research suggests it may increase learning ability and reduce asthma! This may explain why a Swiss study concluded that people find exercising in the outdoors more restorative.

Getting Outside

It may not feel like your schedule is conducive to regular outings. Consider engaging with the elements in bite-sized pieces! Can you replace a car ride with a bike trip or walk? Take take a 10-minute break out in the sun? Go for a swim once a week? Try paddle boarding or some new sport once a month? There are groups which support taking on new endeavors, varying from nature clubs to groups through the app Meetup. Once outside, make it your goal to be as present as possible!

Take on getting out. It's the oldest feel-good prescription in the book. Greenery boosts your spirits, and the wilderness air serves you well. It all starts with a step outside. From there, the next step is up to you.

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

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