Indeed, cities have become a symbol of man’s technological advance. As companies after companies vie for the lion’s share in a given market, our cities have grown, widening year after year. But as we fill our cities with superstructures and skyscrapers, slowly nature has fallen to the wayside. One key indicator of this is the air. It’s no accident that the biggest cities on the planet are also the most polluted. A stunning visual by New York Times should tell all.
In this regard, a journey back to nature is a journey back to a healthy lifestyle. You may not believe it but living in the city has caused us tremendous negative effects on health. Every year, for instance, over half a million Americans succumb to heart disease, the #1 killer disease preying on the nation; that’s one person dying every 36 seconds.
Fortunately, it may not be too late for you to be as healthy and fit as can be. Making sure you incorporate as much nature as possible into your life is wise. Here’s why.
An Affordable Way to Stay Healthy
First and foremost, let’s talk about the heart. And as heart disease is America’s biggest burden disease yearly, it’s but fitting. Each year, heart disease costs the U.S. about $219 billion. We’re talking about not just medicines and health services, but also the loss of productivity caused by death.
But taking a stroll in nature could be just the solution you need. A study done in June 2016 showed that about 10% of those people suffering from hypertension can manage their high blood pressure better if they spend at least 30 minutes of their time in a park or in nature. That can translate to tons of savings on the costs of health care.
Take note that the more polluted the air, the greater the chances of a heart attack. As the American Heart Association details air pollution has short-term and long-term effects on heart health.
For instance, one who is suffering from atherosclerosis can have a heart attack if exposed to air pollution. In a sense, it pushes him over the cliff.
Thus, when smog increased in Los Angeles, so did the number of deaths and hospitalizations.
Aside from fresh air outside, taking time to be with nature reduces stress. For starters, nature just lets you be. It does not demand anything from, unlike work.
An April 2016 study of 44 cities shows that when an urban area has parks, people are more community-oriented. Perhaps, it’s because the park gives people greater opportunity to socialize. But that can only mean better health for you too.
Additionally, a study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal pointed out that women who lived within areas of lush vegetation had a 12% lowered risk of death compared to those women living far from the greens.
Making Nature Happen
As much as nature brings untold health benefits for you, making sure you get as much of it is vital. For one, schedule your nature visits. Instead of your usual time at the gym, why not switch it up and go jog along a trail. Or if that’s impossible, jog nearby in your neighborhood for instance.
Another trick for you is to surround yourself always with plants. Cater to a garden and put some ornamental plants indoors. If you can’t take time to go out to nature, bringing nature in should be a great alternative.
In this regard, you can also tap into the healing powers of nature’s stones. To boot, birthstones have been notable for their healing energy. Wearing birthstone color rings can go a long way in healing various aspects of your life, not to mention give your aesthetics a huge bump.
Additionally, you can bring the smell of nature indoors. When you go strolling amongst trees you expose yourself to phytoncides. These are the natural oils that are found in plants to protect them. You smell these when smelling the air in a forest. Luckily, you can get terpenes, the main ingredient of phytoncides, by buying essential oils. We’re talking about Eucalyptus and Norway Pine for instance.
Then, why not take time during lunch outside. Do a forest bath. Just go outside and take a slow walk. Take time to be with your surroundings.
If that is not even possible, microbreaks should be your thing. A study in Australia showed that all it takes is 40 seconds. Looking at nature outside of your office can help get you more focused.
So long as you incorporate more of nature into your life, things should go well. You’re letting nature heal you.