Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
I was soaking in the tub after teaching two exercise classes, turning the pages of my Spring 2014 issue of National Parks magazine, when what do I come across? A motivating article by Dr. Daphne Miller, entitled “A Prescription for Nature,” all about how going outdoors enhances your health.
“Pfffftt,” you say. “Where’s the news in that?” Well, when was the last time your doctor prescribed an outdoor jaunt?
Live Longer, Leaner, and with Fewer Ailments
Step outside for a moment and contemplate the extent and degree to which nature positively affects you.
According to the article, “…exposure to green space can affect (y)our health just as much as other lifestyle factors traditionally covered in a medical visit.” Living close to a park or garden is associated with reduced body mass and lowered stress. Also, older adults in greener neighborhoods have greater longevity. As Dr. Miller states, “our collective open spaces, from our vast national parks to our tiny city parks, act as a giant health reservoir.”
I’m all for diving into that reservoir. How about you? How about my sister, who announced (after being bitten by a ground wasp during a lake walk a few years ago) that she planned to “visit nature in a museum from now on!” Uh oh! i(Note from Alexandra: It’s all true. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a ground wasp. I still walk outside every day, but I bring along a flamethrower in case of wasps)
As a group fitness instructor, I advocate and adore indoor workouts. Yet, the idea of living longer and leaner with less stress by being a nature champion is also enticing! Ok, I also love being outdoors, and walk my dog almost every day.
Is Time in Nature Your Next Vital Sign?
Imagine checking in for your annual physical to get minutes spent exercising outdoors and in- noted on your chart along with your pulse, blood pressure, smoking and drinking habits, height, and weight.
Research convincingly shows that nature has a significant beneficial influence on our well-being. Need more back-up to get up and out? Cast your eye on these Fun Fit Facts. (please also pin them!)
Go outside this post by clicking on the pictures. Where will they take you?
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Then journey our way:
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Photos Credits: taken by my fine self with my cell phone.
READERS: Where’s your favorite outdoor place or activity? When did you last go there or do that? Huh? huh?