Looking to up your intake of mother nature? In a tapestry of life woven together with work, family, and social obligations, “getting back to nature” might seem like wishful thinking. Who has time to plan a camping trip or the money to reserve a spot on an expensive outdoor yoga retreat?
Incorporating more nature into your life, however, doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly. And in reality, it will only do your body and mind good. Potential benefits of spending time in nature include:
- Better moods and feelings of positivity
- Healthy sunlight exposure
- Sparked creativity and curiosity
- Access to cleaner, fresher air
- Increased mental stimulation
- Improved memory
- Reduced feelings of stress
- Sharper thinking & mental clarity
- Better concentration
- Healthier immune system
Check out these six easy ways to grow your intake of all the beautiful and glorious green the earth has to offer you:
Take a Quick Walk in Nature
While going for a walk anywhere has its benefits – improved cardiovascular health, muscle toning, etc – scientists have found that walking in nature bolsters emotional health too. Compare to participants who spent time walking through a bustling urban environment, one study revealed participants who spent time walking through a natural setting expressed great attentiveness and less inclination to brood over negative thoughts and feelings.
Incorporate More Plant-based Proteins
Did you know that replacing just 10% of your daily calories with a plant-based protein like beans, seeds, or whole grains can lower your overall mortality risk? A growing body of evidence has shown researchers that the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients derived from plant-based diets not only help people be healthier, but can help you live longer too. Swap out that next burger for a grilled portobello mushroom cap, replace meat in your next pasta dish with hearty zucchini or eggplant, and add flare to new dishes with interesting grains like farro and quinoa.
Get a House Plant
House plants don’t just make great additions to your home decor or office space at work; they have also been shown to help humidify and purify the air which can aid your own respiration and breathing. Some studies have also shown indoor plants can help sharpen your focus as well as improve your overall health, lowering blood pressure and decreasing fatigue and headaches. A simple orchid in the bedroom or succulent on your desk serves as a nice reminder of your connection to the earth and world around you as well.
Take a Meeting on the Go
Forget spending another tiresome work meeting in the conference room and take it on the go instead! Ask colleagues if they are up for doing laps outside (maybe around a local park or reservoir) while you meet instead of spending 30+ minutes sitting. Not only are you burning extra calories, but you are spending time out in nature which could potentially help spark creativity and new ideas.
Walk or Bike to Work
Struggling with a fitness injury that requires physical therapy or a knee brace (like these) may make keeping up with your routine workouts difficult, but low-impact activities plus a little time outdoors may help speed recovery. Walking or biking to work instead of driving not only lowers your carbon footprint, but helps you burn calories and take in some of nature’s glories to and from the office.
Move Your Workout Outside
Tired of running on the same treadmill inside the same sweaty gym day after day? Take your workout outside on a beautiful sunny day with a jog in the park, an outdoor yoga class, or a stimulating hike. The sunshine and fresh air will reinvigorate your love for physical fitness, and the connection to the earth’s elements around you will bolster a mindful connection to what you are doing.
Volunteer In Nature
Take your passion for helping others and combine it with tons of outdoor opportunities to do good! River and park cleanups, animal adoption events, outdoor charity runs, volunteering at a kids camp, helping with the Special Olympics, the list goes on. Search for volunteer opportunities near you with free online sites like CreatetheGood.org and VolunteerMatch.org.
Guest Post by Joe Fleming, Vive health