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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Find Healing in Nature!

Find Healing in Nature!

More and more, people are beginning to understand that it is important to protect and heal the environment, but did you know that the environment can heal you, too? Spending time outdoors in green spaces is important for our physical and emotional well-being, and there is some compelling evidence that those who make a habit of enjoying nature are happier and healthier.

According to a Dutch study, people who live within half a mile of a park or forest experience less anxiety and depression than those who don’t. In addition, those who are regularly exposed to natural sunlight are much less likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression triggered by the shorter days of winter. Another study found that children with Attention Deficit Disorder are better able to concentrate after engaging in outdoor play than after indoor activities such as watching television or playing video games.

And getting outdoors is as good for your body as it is for your mind. For one thing, people who make a regular habit of getting outdoors get more exercise, on average, than those who don’t. Children with greater access to nature are less likely to be overweight or obese, and senior citizens who regularly spend time outdoors have a lower mortality rate.

More time outside also means more Vitamin D. Recent estimates suggest as many as 70% of Americans are deficient in this key vitamin. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, which can increase bone mass and strength, preventing osteoporosis and broken bones. Getting enough Vitamin D can also slow the deterioration of cartilage that causes arthritis, strengthens the immune system, giving the body greater ability to reduce inflammation from infections, and increase muscle strength. Medical research also suggests that it may have a role in preventing diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

Nature may even help people with serious injuries or illnesses to recover more quickly. A few different studies have shown that hospital patients recover more quickly if they have a view of trees and natural light than if there is a wall outside their windows.

Green spaces have social benefits, too. Neighborhoods with more trees and parks have lower crime rates and more interaction between neighbors.

So, while it’s important to give back to the Earth, don’t be afraid to take a little back for yourself, in the form of a little physical and mental respite.

6 comments

1 Barbara Verbanac { 05.19.13 at 11:03 am }

I enjoyed this article. I love nature, a walk in the woods or sunshine on my face. It’s all good! My favorite is playing in the dirt in my garden (I feel close to God there). I also love being barefoot in the grass:)

2 Jaime McLeod { 05.31.12 at 12:06 pm }

Hi Marie,
There is nothing that will prevent heartworm other than a commercial heartworm preventative, such as Heartgard or Revolution (the first is a chewable the second is a topical solution that also prevents fleas). Most vets require a yearly heartworm test in order to prescribe one of these products. If you can’t afford office visit fees at the vet, call around to some pet stores in your area. Many offer low-cost vaccination clinics, and some also perform heartworm tests. Keep your friend safe!

3 Marie A. Ortiz { 05.30.12 at 4:03 pm }

Hi’ my name is Marie, i have a 4 yr, lab mix, i am more concern about heartworm that can kill her. What is the best home remedy that i can use to treat r prevent her from heartworms ? We know that heartworms comes from mesquitoe and, as a low income family’ i can’t aford a vet thou, i havn’t taken her to a vet for a checkup to see if she dose r dosen’t. She isn’t coughing but, if i can’ i would like to gave her something to prevent her from getting heartworms.

4 Linda Bishop { 04.19.12 at 9:47 am }

What is going on outdoors? This spring so far I have seen more butterflies that I have ever seen. Every kind not just a particular kind. Very unusual.

5 Ken { 04.18.12 at 10:31 am }

There is nothing that you do indoors that you cannot do outdoors!

6 Riki { 04.18.12 at 9:27 am }

I looked for 6 months before I found a place to live that was within walking distance to a wooded park and it was well worth it. It draws me outdoors in NJ all year long :)

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