By Dr.TERI JAKLIN
Have you ever been sitting outside, coffee in hand and it’s hit your how nice it is to sit there and just listen to the birds, maybe a bit of traffic, or the goings on of the neighbourhood? It’s a pleasant way to internalize a bit and sift through your thoughts – whether it’s your to do list for the day or simply listen to your internal monologue.
Spending time outdoors has been shown to induce positive benefits to our wellbeing. Add to that a dollop of sunshine and warm summer weather and it’s a recipe for mood lifting success. A study by Ontario’s Conservation Areas on the Benefits of Nature shows:
- Compared to an urban setting, walking in nature has been shown to reduce anger, improve positive affect, and lower blood pressure.
- Regular use of natural areas for physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health problems by 50%; being active in natural settings even once a week might prove protective.
- The benefits of walking of running in a natural setting compared to indoors include: greater sense of revitalization and positive engagement, decreased tension, confusion, anger, and depression, increased energy, and a greater intent to repeat the activity.
Healthyhikes.ca reports that some doctors are prescribing hikes to patients suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depression, anxiety, and obesity. A great way to try to meet your body’s need for fresh air is to take the Healthy Hikes Challenge, which runs now until October 31, 2016.
Another governmental initiative is Mood Walks; it’s a provincial program that provides training and support for community mental health organizations across Ontario to launch educational walking programs for people who experience mental health issues.
Local conservation areas are offering yoga in the park during the summer. Give it a try and see how different you begin to feel. For even more natural ways to improve your health and wellness, give us a call at the Waterdown Clinic today!