Being outdoors can improve your well-being

Being outdoors can improve your well-being
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According to Forbes, “at our core, humans have a biological connection to nature. This phenomenon is called biophilia. First introduced by Edward O. Wilson in 1984, the term describes how humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other living things. It helps explain why we enjoy a sunny spot at the windowsill, a lush garden, or an ocean breeze.”

The latest research confirms what we all instinctively know – that being outside just makes us feel better. Here are five science-backed benefits of spending time outside according to Forbes:

• Increased happiness. Many studies show that our moods take a positive shift when we spend time outside. Research also suggests that spending time in nature can also reduce the risk of depression and anxiety – and may even help improve symptoms.

• Reduced inflammation. Spending more time outside could help naturally reduce pain. A 2012 study found that students who were asked to spend time in the forest had lower levels of inflammation than their peers who spent time in the city.

• More energy. A series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology reveals that being in nature makes people feel more alive. “Nature is fuel for the soul,” said Richard Ryan, lead author and a professor at the University of Rochester. “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.”

• Improved memory. Studies have found that spending time in nature can help improve memory functions – especially short-term memory. Research from the University of Michigan found that walking in a park or even viewing pictures of nature helped improve both memory and attention span.

• Stress relief. Spending time outside has been shown to lower stress levels and has similar effects on your brain and body as meditating. Being in a natural setting is shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

A recent survey uncovered some surprising insights about the barriers to working outside. According to the L.L. Bean 2018 Work and the Outdoors Survey:

• 87 percent of indoor workers consider themselves someone who enjoys the outdoors. But 75 percent of indoor workers surveyed rarely or never take time to work outside.

• 65 percent of survey respondents their job is the biggest barrier to spending time outdoors – followed by weather (42 percent) and housework (33 percent).

I encourage you to take charge of your Summer and go outside. Better yet, go outside with a co-worker for a break or take a walk with a family member. Enjoy the rest of the nice Midwest weather and have a fun summer.

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