Tag Archives: health

Health Benefits of Being in Nature

There are now scientific studies that support the health benefits of being in nature. Our hectic schedule of inside activities where air pollution is greater is slowly killing us. Here are nature’s benefits and why we need to be connected:

1. VITAMIN D  “Those who don’t get enough Vitamin D are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s(1)” Less conclusive studies show a relationship with heart disease and diabetes. Getting your Vitamin D from natural sources is an improvement over supplements because of better absorption rates.

2. IMPROVED SLEEP  Americans generally don’t get enough sleep. We all have an internal biological clock or a circadian rhythm. This rhythm is set according to our exposure to the sun. Spending too much time inside can change this pattern. Taking a walk in the morning can help re-set your clock.

3. MENTAL HEALTH Studies show that the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced. This involves the regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. It also improves some mental functions like memory and learning. Serotonin can act like an anti-depressant in your body.

4. VISION Going outside protects your vision in two ways. It can prevent and reverse Computer Vision Syndrome. If you work on a computer and watch TV when not working, you are at risk. The common symptoms are double or blurred vision, headaches, eye irritation and neck pain. The second protection is against nearsightedness. Artificial light is proven to cause this change in vision that can be reversed in natural light.

5. FRESH AIR  It’s frightening to know that indoor pollination is far worse than outdoor. Lack of fresh air can led to bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer and heart disease(1). This is especially true if you sleep above your garage. So, remember to open windows daily and add house plants too.

6. GROUNDING   A new concept to some. It refers to skin contact with nature(grass, dirt, sand). This way we absorb earth’s electrons since the planet is more negatively charged than our bodies. The theory is this reduces inflammation while increases energy. So, take off your shoes next time you walk in the park and be a kid again.

7. EXERCISE  This is not a direct effect of fresh air, but a byproduct of going outside. It’s hard to be outside without doing some type of activity. Exercising outside has more benefits than in a gym. Results show people exercise longer and feel better about it when in nature.

I think the best way to take advantage of being out doors is to plan activities. If you already have your walking or exercise routine established, just move it to a greener location if need be. I always have a table and chairs on my backyard or patio because I enjoy el fresco dining. Start by making a list of all the outdoor activities you enjoy(including window shopping) and start incorporating them into you routine. So, if I tell you to Take a Hike, I mean for your health.  L. Johnson of http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Zack, (3-2014) Get Outside! 7 Scientifically-Backed Health Benefits of Being in Nature Retrieved from: http://appalachiantrials.com/scientifically-supported-reasons-get-outside/ on 11-12-2014

Meditate for Health and Saving

It may surprise some that you can meditate for health and savings. There are mountains of studies regarding the many health benefits of meditation. One study (1) that summarizes others breaks down the benefits into five categories. The first is stress reduction, which affects almost every system in our bodies. The sympathetic nervous system is calmed, which reduces the cortisol and adrenaline that are correlated with stress. Meditating facilitates relaxation for sleep or before a stressful event.

Transcendental Meditation also lowers the risk of heart disease and has been known to lower the incidence of strokes, heart attack, and death compared to non-meditators. The study reports that through T.M., heart disease can be lowered by nearly 50% and high blood pressure can be managed also. I know too many middle-aged people who are on hypertension medications, and fail to follow other healthful behaviors like exercise, sodium reduction, and meditation. TM is apparently the only meditation practice that has been proven to lower blood pressure and to get approval from the American Heart Association. Its benefits also help manage depression, in that mood becomes more stable, and also lowers anxiety.

The financial benefit of reduced medical expenses seems a little confusing at first. But, “Inpatient days decreased by more than 50% in every age category, children, young and older adults and out-patient visits were reduced by 47% to 69%. Surprisingly, admissions for benign and malignant tumors dropped 55%, heart disease by 87% and more than 30% for infectious diseases. (1)” Less doctor visits and medications simply means we save more money.

These figures are too meaningful to overlook and can apply especially well in retirement. In order to understand this, both inpatient and outpatient visits dropped because meditation reduces our response to pain. For us to see a doctor outside of our routine visits, we usually need to feel discomfort or distress. Tumors and infections tend to drop as a result of an improved immune response, while lower heart disease from deep relaxation is already documented. The conclusion is that stress and anxiety compound or even create health problems that we normally would not have.

Taking 15 to 20 minutes once or twice a day to meditate is an enjoyable period of calmness in a hectic day. I meditate in the morning for alertness and at night for relaxation. I go to the doctor so little, I’ve had no need for insurance for over 20 years.        L.J. www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Garcia, M.(6-10-0213) “Five reasons transcendental meditation is good for your health” voxxi.com. Retrieved on 2-11-2014 from: voxxi.com/2013/06/10/transcendental-meditation-tm-good-for-health/