Health

Get outside: Seven ways to reap nature's benefits

Make the time: It doesn't take all that much, actually. A University of Rochester study showed that 20 minutes in a green setting was advantageous to health and vitality. And another study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology revealed mental health benefits after just five minutes in green space.

Get outside loving nature

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Make the time: It doesn’t take all that much, actually. A University of Rochester study showed that 20 minutes in a green setting was advantageous to health and vitality. And another study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology revealed mental health benefits after just five minutes in green space.

Sweat it outdoors: Taking your workout outside “is like exercise squared,” says New York-based naturopathic doctor Alan Logan. People who exercise in nature report more willingness to stick to their program, and a study comparing treadmill and outdoor runners found the outdoor exercisers were less fatigued and more invigorated than their indoor counterparts.

Choose a window seat: Natural light lifts mood and reduces anxiety. In one study, patients in hospital after heart attacks recovered faster and had lower mortality rates if their rooms had high levels of natural light.

Put a plant on your desk: Potted plants are proven to increase productivity and mood and reduce eye strain.

Hang a picture (or just picture it): A shot of Lake Louise won’t give you the light and aroma benefits of the real thing, but studies show that an image of a pleasing natural setting can have emotional benefits. Same goes for just closing your eyes and thinking about it.

Get a pet: A dog will certainly get you outside more, but any pet offers a connection to nature.

Start gardening: Those blissed-out green thumbs are on to something. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology revealed that gardening lowers cortisol. And research on military veterans with post-traumatic stress showed that gardening had therapeutic benefits. No access to green space? Join a community garden and reap the social benefits, too!

How nature can benefit your health and happiness