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Get out in the Green – What Nature Can do for You

Get out in the Green – What Nature Can do for You

The “Inside Generation”⠀

We spend way too much time inside. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. ⠀

Fortunately, summer is right around the corner and the weather is getting warmer. You need to get outside and here’s why:⠀

Circadian Rhythm

Your body’s internal clock, known as it’s circadian rhythm, functions best with natural light and dark cycles. Unfortunately as a society we aren’t paying enough attention to our primal need for sunshine and fresh air. What we are paying attention to is our phone screens and couches. Get outside during the day and limit blue light (from your phone, TV, iPad, etc.) at night. This has the potential to improve your sleep quality and energy levels. Go camping for a weekend if you can’t get your sleep schedule straightened out and see what it can do for you!  ⠀

Green Activity

Not only are we inside too much, we are sitting on our behinds too much. Getting outside can be a much more peaceful and enjoyable place for physical activity. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or on the canal, or find a trail. If you are not able to get much activity, even sitting outside has a vast amount of benefits.  ⠀

Places in Indiana to get a dose of nature:

  • Clifty Falls State Park – Jefferson City, IN
  • Brown County State Park – Nashville, IN
  • Pokagon State Park – Angola, IN
  • Cultural Trail – Indianapolis, IN
  • Turkey Run State Park – Marshall, IN
  • McCormick Creek State Park – Spencer IN

Support Your Immunity

Being outdoors can support your immune system by breathing in phytoncides. Phytoncides are airborne chemicals produced by plants that have been shown to increase our levels of white blood cells which protect us against illness and diseases.⠀

Vitamin D

During warmer months, individuals with fair skin only need 15-30 minutes in the sun to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D. People with darker complexions like African Americans or Latinos may need up to 2 hours. Vitamin D is essential for health and wellbeing. It is affects your heart, immune system, bones, the rate at which you age and more. Don’t burn but don’t over apply sunscreen. You should also consider a non-toxic option like zinc oxide. ⠀

Air Quality

Indoor air quality can negatively impact your health. The EPA reports that Americans are spending majority of their time at home, school, work “where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations”. People are most susceptible to the negative effects of pollution spend even more time indoors (e.g. the very young, elderly, individuals with cardiovascular disease).

Mental Health

Nature improves mental health. Researchers did a study a on the mental health benefits of “green exercise activities and green care”. They found that being in nature can reduce feelings of anger, depression, tension and confusion when compared to an indoor walk. They also found that it enhanced mood and improved feelings of self worth. ⠀