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Nurture Yourself with Nature

Health, like life itself, seems to be a series of constant refinements.  Subtle shifts, a bit of reflection, and lots of recognizing blindspots.  I spend a good deal of time helping others recognize blindspots but somehow still manage to have lots of my own.

Since we’ve lived in our current neighborhood for almost 7 years now, my walking/running routes have been pretty mapped out.  A creature of habit, a daily walk or run is part of my own health routine (and Dee’s much to her chagrin….).  Though walking and running are good habits in and of themselves, I was missing a major piece of the puzzle: the nature in my own backyard.

Since we moved across the street to our current home (a mere 1 digit difference in our house number, friends and family continue to be confused…) there is an entrance to a trail literally in our backyard.  Though I would go down there with T to splash in the stream and such, I seldom included the trail in my own daily route.  I guess the sidewalk just seemed more straight forward and predictable (foiled again by the path of least resistance…)?

However, in listening to a podcast and remembering how good being in nature is for the microbiome, I realized it doesn’t make sense to take probiotics and ignore the multitude of microbes available in my own backyard.  I’ve since shifted my routine to include walking though the forest.

So, for today’s PSA, a few reasons why you too might consider spending more time in nature:

It May Improve Your Immune System: Breathing in chemical compounds know as phytoncides released by trees may enhance the number of natural killer cells in the body.  Natural killer cells are believed to combat disease and even be helpful in the prevention of certain kinds of cancer.

It May Make You Happier:  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is believed to be related to a lack of natural light and low vitamin D levels.  Though it can be tough to get all the vitamin D you need from light exposure, increased time outside has been shown to be help mitigate the effects of SAD.

-It May Ease Your Stress:  Getting outdoors in nature has been shown to reduce levels of salivary cortisol, a physiological marker of stress.

For more tips, tricks, and musings on health, head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

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Get it, T!