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How Nature Can Improve Your Health

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There are so many wonderful self-care tips that will help you on your journey to optimal health and well-being. One of the simplest pieces of self-care advice is also one of the most effective — spend time in nature. From gardening in your yard to hiking the Appalachian Trail to camping in a national park, nature is endlessly fascinating and the benefits to your health are just as numerous. Let’s take a quick peek at just how spending time in nature could jumpstart your wellness journey…

How Does Nature Nurture You?

Nature provides opportunities for recreation and leisure, spiritual fulfillment, personal development, social relations, and aesthetic experiences. In short, nature is one of the best holistic health supplements around! The health benefits of spending time in nature have been supported by scientific research time and again:

  • Lowered blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and reduced cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Improved immune system function
  • Increased endorphin levels and dopamine production (promotes happiness)
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Boosts creativity and ability to problem solve
  • Restored capacity for concentration and working memory
  • Reduced irritability and feelings of isolation
  • Increased feelings of calmness
  • Helps you live more in the present moment (disconnecting from technology and stress triggers)

Here’s how to get the most out of your time in nature:

  • Allocate a minimum of 2 hours per week spent outdoors to see health benefits
  • Move your workout outdoors — those who exercise outdoors regularly can reduce the risk of mental health problems by up to 50%
  • Spend time outdoors before you start a creative project. Researchers think the variety of interesting, but non-distracting stimuli you experience in nature primes your brain for “directed attention.”

5 Ways to Enjoy Nature that Jumpstart Your Wellness

Practice mindfulness by reveling in nature’s natural wonder and beauty. Here are 5 ways to embrace the joy of nature:

1. Exercise in nature: Swim, bike, hike, climb, jog, golf, or surf your way to better physical health in the great outdoors, and your body will thank you. The cardiovascular or strength training activity will help your body sweat out toxins, build muscle, strengthen bone, and improve flexibility and balance.

2. Elevate your mood in nature: With the sun shining on your face, you can’t help but feel the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders. Exposure to sunlight assists in setting circadian rhythm, which aids in boosting mood while you’re awake as well as helps you go to go sleep at night for better sleep. A solid circadian rhythm also combats anxiety and depression.

3. Connect with God in nature: The great outdoors is really one big church sanctuary, so go outside and appreciate all that God has wrought. As you pray or meditate, make the effort to incorporate breathing exercises. Connecting your breath to the moment can enhance your appreciation of the outdoor space and your connection to God.

4. Socialize in nature: Outdoor activities are a great way to socialize. Whether you take a yoga class outdoors, join a group bike ride, or picnic with friends, enjoying nature is the driving force that brings a group together. Socialization is critically important to your mental health, and nature provides so many fun activities you can pursue with friends and family.

5. Solitude in nature: Outdoor activities are also a great way to enjoy solitude and find peace in a chaotic world. When you spend time in nature by yourself, you give yourself permission to be in the present moment and experience it with all five senses. To stand outside in the rain, feeling the cool water on your skin, smelling the wet earth, tasting the clean raindrops on your lips, hearing the distant thunder, and seeing flashes of lightning, it gives you a perspective on your place in the universe and how magnificent and complex and awe-inspiring the natural world is.

Spending Time in Nature is Essential to Your Well-being

A stay at OHI is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in nature and reap the healing benefits. With OHI Austin’s winding walking trails and OHI San Diego’s beautifully landscaped gardens – both campuses provide the perfect safe and sacred outdoor space for healing. So come to OHI and spend time in nature to nurture your well-being!

Learn these and other healthy tips at Optimum Health Institute. OHI has two health & wellness retreat centers located in California and Texas. Give yourself the gift of a healing retreat at OHI and jumpstart your holistic healing journey.

Book your next visit to OHI today. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 to learn more about our holistic approach to health and wellness.