It’s our nature to want to spend time outdoors. At 100 Year Lifestyle we have always encouraged people to get up, get out, soak in the sun to get your vitamin D, and just enjoy being outside. But our connection to nature runs deeper. If you aren’t spending enough time in nature, you aren’t maximizing your 100:100, living at 100% for 100 years…or more. Here’s why.
First off, living near nature can actually help you live longer. A study was done by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The study was a nationwide investigation into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. It examined more than 108,000 women from 2000 to 2008.
The researchers compared the risk of death with the amount of plant life and vegetation near the women’s homes and found that women living in the greenest areas had a 12% lower death rate than women living in the least green areas.
Specifically, women in greener areas had a 41% lower death rate for kidney disease, a 34% lower death rate for respiratory disease, and a 13% lower death rate for cancer than those living in areas with less greenery.
It’s a Lifestyle
The team believes that a similar study done with men would result in the same findings. However, it is important to note that 84% of the study participants lived in urban areas. You don’t need to live near a park to benefit from nature. You just need to include nature in your lifestyle. “The study,” according to study author Peter James, “is another step in adding to the evidence that nature may be related to better health.”
This study is just part of a growing body of research that all points to the positive effects that exposure to nature has on our health.
In another study of 20,000 people by the European Centre for Environment & Human Health, it was found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. Two hours was a hard boundary. The study showed there were no benefits for people who didn’t meet that threshold.
So Many Benefits
The fact is, regardless of the studies, people have long known from experience the benefits of spending time in nature. Regardless of whether you are at a national park, beach, or your own backyard, spending time outdoors can lower blood pressure, improve your mood, reduce stress, and slow your heart rate. All of this and other aspects of being in nature also contribute to a stronger immune system.
When children in particular get up and away from computer screens they experience less stress, use their imagination more, get moving, experience reduced stress and fatigue, and are able to focus their attention better.
Rhythm of Our Bodies is the Rhythm of Nature
There is no down side to spending time in nature! In fact, the very rhythm of our bodies is in sync with the rhythms of nature. Your circadian rhythm or your body’s internal clock, which determines when you get tired and when you wake up, is tied to the cycle of light and dark, morning and night. By being in sync with this natural rhythm your body produces the right chemicals and hormones at the right time of the day in the right amounts to keep functioning properly—alert when you need to be and sleepy when the time is right.
Time to Step Outside
The 100 Year Lifestyle is all about leading the healthiest possible life for as many years as possible. The science is in and spending time in nature adds more life to your years and years to your life. It’s a simple step to take to improve your health and mood right now, and in the future. When you’re done reading this article, step outside, even for a few moments!
A great way to get out of the house and create the perfect 100 Year Lifestyle for yourself and your family is to find a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you today. Then make a picnic lunch including some of The 100 Year Lifestyle recipes, and head outside. To your health!