Fall is a great time of the year to connect with nature. Orange pumpkins, vibrant fall leaves, crisp air, hayrides, and colorful mums all instinctively speak to our soul, begging us to go outdoors. But did you know “nature time” has been shown to improve health and prevent disease?
Green Therapy, Nature Therapy, or Ecotherapy, as it is referred to, has been studied by researchers and found to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, reduce stress, and improve depression. In 2007 the University of Essex compared 2 groups of depressed people. Both groups were given a quantitative depression test before and after a walk. One group took a walk in nature and the second group took a walk in a shopping center. 71% percent of the nature participants noted a reduction in their depression score. While only 45% of the mall subjects had a reduction in their depression score. Furthermore 22% of the mall participants actually noticed an increase in their score!
Other advantages of Nature Therapy include improvement in short term memory, increased mental energy, reduced inflammation, improved concentration and focus, better sleep, decreased risk of nearsightedness in children, improved creativity, and boosting the immune system. Researchers noted that spending as little as 5-20 minutes/day outdoors was beneficial.
Finally, Nature Therapy has been shown to prevent or reverse Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS is caused by staring at the screen for prolonged periods of time. Both adults and children are spending more time in front of their computer, TV, Kindle, and laptop screens. Chronic focusing on objects two feet in front of the face can lead to blurred vision, dry eyes, red eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain. Getting outside and focusing on distant objects helps correct CVS. Also taking a 15-20 second break from looking at the computer every 45 minute can benefit your eyes greatly.
So this fall get outdoors. Walk, hike, enjoy a hayride, pick pumpkins in a patch instead of a store, work in the garden, plant mums, try a corn maze, and allow nature to transform you.