Soothe Your Senses: Get Outdoors
Want to feel more relaxed, spend time in nature, because it:
Encourages Physical Activity
Accessibility to everyday green and blue spaces encourages you to simply get out the door. This in turn motivates you to be active physically, spiritually and socially, which can offset chronic illness, disability and isolation. Spending time outdoors fights boredom and raises self-esteem.
A University of Rochester Study found that being outside makes us feel more energetic and alive; “90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities.” Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.
Seniors are at higher risk of depression, which can lead to a spiral of decline if not addressed. Spending time in a natural setting has long been “prescribed” to boost our mood. We are inspired by the beauty of nature, by the clean air, sounds and sights.
Interacting with nature improves memory performance and attention span by 20 percent. This is speculated in part because natural environments are far less stressful than urban environments, which feature “a relatively complex and often confusing pattern of stimulation, that requires effort to sort out and interpret.”
Improves Physical Health
Spending time in nature has been shown to boost the immune system. A 2015 University of Chicago Study showed that even living in a neighborhood with lots of trees can help improve our cardiovascular and metabolic health, as well as lowering our blood pressure and stress levels. Urban trees improve air quality, and provide a more inviting environment for exercise.
A 2016 study from Harvard University found that no matter our age, socioeconomic status or race, people whose homes are surrounded by vegetation lived 12 percent longer. Among the 100,000 women in the study, those who lived surrounded by trees and plants had a 34 percent lower rate of death from respiratory illness, and a 13 percent lower rate of cancer death. Said Harvard epidemiology researcher Peter James, “We know that planting vegetation can help the environment by reducing wastewater loads, sequestering carbon, and mitigating the effects of climate change. Our new findings suggest a possible co-benefit — improving health — that presents planners, landscape architects, and policy makers with a potential tool to grow healthier places.”and be grateful for all that you have. Have faith that we will get through this. And then pass it on, because faith and joy are just as contagious as fear and panic.