Weekly musings, 9/3/17: Get outside
The Finnish people are known for a handful of things: their taciturn nature, a tendency towards introversion, and a love of the outdoors. This love of being outside fascinates Finnish scientists so much, they decided to study the effects of nature on well-being.*
It turns out, being outside for 5 hours a month, preferably near water, positively impacts our emotional and physiological states. We are happier, have lower blood pressure, and are calmer when exposed to the natural environment; one with water appears to take the benefits up another notch.
Committing to being outside 5 hours a month might sound like a lot at first glance, but it’s the equivalent of 30 minutes, three times a week. To achieve the benefits, it doesn’t matter how hard you nature- aggressively hiking the steepest trail isn’t any more restorative than slowly strolling by the ocean.
Nature could be a starting place for those that feel anxious, depressed, or generally stressed out to begin restoring their emotional balance. It’s a way to achieve calm and the health benefits appear to match those of meditation. In any case, the health benefits from the outdoors shouldn’t be underestimated.
*The book, “The Nature Fix,” by Florence Williams is a wonderful romp through the science of nature.