Why A 30 Minute Dose of Nature Every Week Is Good for You
The complications of modern life can leave you feeling stressed and lonely, but the solution is sometimes surprisingly simple. We all know how good it feels to get out into the fresh air and experience nature, whether that is to the beach or just a short walk. It somehow makes us feel happier and more alive. Scientists in Australia have found further evidence of what we all instinctively know and researchers have been saying for years. Connecting with nature enhances your physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
A recent study led by The University of Queensland (UQ) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) suggests people might need a minimum dose of nature
UQ CEED researcher Dr Danielle Shanahan said “If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour each week there would be seven per cent fewer cases of depression and nine percent fewer cases of high blood pressure,”
If you’re ready to beat the blues, then in my capacity as ‘The Time Doctor’ I prescribe a weekly 30-minute dose of nature. Check out following ideas for making the most of your local park, and discover other ways to commune with nature.
Modern life can leave you feeling stressed and lonely, but the solution is sometimes surprisingly simple.
3 Benefits of A Dose of Nature
- Increase your happiness. Contact with green spaces makes us happy. Whether it’s a spectacular waterfall or a simple flower bed, we appreciate the beauty and order in our surroundings.
- Boost your health. Spending time in parks has been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease. Being outdoors can also help you lose weight and sleep well if it increases your physical activity and exposure to morning light.
- Socialize more. Parks bring together citizens from different walks of life. Whether you’re people watching or flying a kite, you share a positive experience.
Spending time in parks lowers high blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension and heart disease.
5 Ways to Get a Dose of Nature Using Your Local Park
- Work out. Today’s parks often offer much more than jogging trails. Look for circuit training stations, softball fields, and tennis courts. Exercise requires less effort when you’re admiring the scenery.
- Eat lunch. Squeeze a break into your busy schedule by eating lunch outdoors. Packing a bag lunch usually cuts costs and calories compared to most restaurants.
- Attend events. Check the calendar on your park’s website. You may find free concerts, movies, and family events.
- Pause to think. Practice meditation in the park with a group or on your own. Find a comfortable place to sit and breathe.
- Clean up. Now that you realize how much your park does for you, you may want to give something back. Join volunteer programs that pick up garbage, plant trees, or conduct tours for school children.
Squeeze a break into your busy schedule by eating lunch outdoors.
More Tips for Enjoying a Dose of Nature
- Take a walk. What can you do if there’s no park nearby? Stroll around the neighbourhood or a local college campus.
- Plan your vacation. Go camping or incorporate outdoor activities into any vacation. You can rent bikes or kayaks. Breakfast on the beach or go horseback riding in the mountains.
- Tend your garden. Growing your own food and flowers is a great way to increase your gratitude for the earth. Plant tomatoes in your back yard or share a community plot.
- Go for a dip. While green spaces provide impressive benefits, blue spaces may be even more powerful. Spend some time near water. Install a fountain in your back yard or ask a hotel if you can purchase a pool membership. Some facilities offer discounts for local residents.
- Bring your pet. Observing wild animals is entertaining and educational as long as you take reasonable safety precautions. If you want to interact more closely, walk your dog or play Frisbee together.
- Gaze at stars. Learn about science the fun way while you stimulate your sense of wonder. Shop for a basic telescope or check the calendar for public programs at community observatories.
- Redecorate your home. For rainy days, invite the outdoors in. Arrange your furniture so you sit by a window with a view. Set out fresh flowers or pretty seashells.
The ‘The Time Doctor’ prescribes a weekly 30-minute dose of nature
Talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression that interfere with your daily life. Otherwise, give yourself a dose of Nature for 30 mins a week may be all you need to lift your spirits and stay fit.
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Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor