The Great Outdoors Makes You Feel Good Inside
Today our lives are filled with cell phones, streaming TV and sitting at computers. It’s no surprise that the only time some of us may spend outdoors each day is between hopping in the car to go to work or run an errand. However, it is important to make time to enjoy the outdoors. Spending time outside on a daily basis is beneficial to one’s mental, emotional and physical health.
Being outside reduces inflammation.
Chronic pain sufferers may benefit from soaking in the sunshine if their pain worsens when inflammation increases. A Japanese study showed spending time in a green space decreased inflammation in the participants’ bodies. This study was conducted in a forest, thus giving this phenomenon the name “shinrin-yoku,” which translates to “forest bath.” No need to run off to a forest, though; this positive reaction to nature can be achieved in any setting where one is surrounded by greenery, even if your green space is just your backyard.
The outdoors has healing energy.
Taking time to be outside is easily a form of self-care, since spending time in nature can lower cortisol levels, which, in turn, lowers stress. Ecotherapy is a psychological practice that uses the outdoors as a method of reducing depression and aggression while boosting creativity and productivity. Threshold, a mental health organization located in Chicago, Ill., has a gardening program for veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorders. By tending to flowers at Chicago Botanical Garden, it has helped give a sense of comfort and purpose to its members. Utilizing outdoor activities like horticulture, meditation and physical exercise, people may feel closer to nature and more at peace with themselves.
Breathing in fresh air can boost your immunity.
A phytoncide is a chemical released by anything from soil and trees, to leaves and plants. When inhaled, these substances stimulate the body to increase white blood cell production. In the “forest bathing” study mentioned previously, preliminary results found that spending time in places with lots of trees—where more phytoncides are present—may aid with the body’s production of “natural killer” white blood cells that attack cancerous cells.
Time spent outdoors supports healthy aging.
Since Tabitha’s Purpose is to empower people to live joyfully, age gratefully, it’s no wonder we would encourage you to go outside if it makes you happier and keeps you healthy! According to a study in the Journal of Aging and Health, in adults over the age of 70, going outside daily correlated to reduced functional decline, better sleep and improved mobility. Additionally, students at the University of Michigan participated in a study that found nature walks may improve short-term memory. Since short-term memory is integral to the retention of long-term knowledge, keeping one’s mind sharp is a key to healthy mental aging.
Spending time outside provides people with a plethora of nutrients—like Vitamin D—that aid in infection control, mood regulation and many other functions. Whether it be going for a jog, working in the garden or lounging in a hammock, taking time to be present and soak up some sun could very well be a way to benefit one’s body and overall spirit.
For answers to all your aging questions, start with Tabitha. Contact a Senior Care Expert today.