Boost your health, happiness & longevity with nature

According to the latest research, just two hours a week of green time can boost your health and wellbeing. It doesn’t matter if you get your dose in small chunks across the week or in one large session, a quick nature pick-me-up can help reduce your risk of some diseases and help prolong life.

Spending time in nature doesn’t have to mean heading on long hikes to reap the benefits. Enjoying a family picnic in the great outdoors will easily ‘tick off’ your weekly nature dose. Living in Australia, chances are you aren’t far from a green space. If you’ve got outdoor-friendly foods that are nutritious (think firm veggies, chopped fruit, roasted chickpeas or firm cheeses), you’re good to go green.


So why is green good?


Simply getting outdoors encourages physical activity, social interaction, exposure to sunlight and reduced pollution – all with obvious health benefits. It helps improve mood, energy, helps lower stress and anxiety – just to name a few. But in addition to that, trees and plants emit substances known as phytoncides (essential oils) and studies show that being exposed to these helps boost our immune system and anti-cancer cells.

These mental and physical health benefits help with living a longer life, so it’s no wonder that spending time in nature is also a core philosophy of people living in Blue Zones – populations around the world with the longest rates of longevity.

Subscribe to Wholicious Living to stay up-to-date with the latest health and nutrition advice.
 

What is ‘forest bathing’?


Spending time outdoors to improve your wellbeing is nothing new, with the practice first coined in 1980s Japan. It’s inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to ‘forest bathing’ (don’t worry, it doesn’t involve any water or swimming as the term might suggest).

The idea is actually quite simple: it involves walking through or spending time in a nature area and immersing yourself in the environment. In Asia, it is nationally recognised as a stress reduction method and way to combat chronic illness. But not everyone has the time to get a quick dose of nature, so the Japanese were the first to look at incorporating trees and nature into built environments or as they term them ‘park prescriptions’.

Forest bathing has now caught on worldwide, with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy adopting the concept globally.
 

Why not try some of our tips to get you out and about? 


WORK IT OUT
If you have a regular exercise routine, don’t be afraid to mix it up and take it outside. Your regular treadmill run can be swapped for a refreshing hike, or your regular Pilates class can take a trip outside by simply popping your Pilates mat on your lawn.


PLAN A PICNIC
As the weather warms up, picnics are a great way to enjoy time outdoors. Pack a picnic basket, plenty of water, and you’re all set. Don’t forget to grab some lawn games for more opportunities to get moving. Or simply escape the office and enjoy your lunch at the local pack for a mid-week mini picnic.


CHANGE OF SCENERY
Are you regularly meeting up with friends for coffee? Why not make it a ‘walk and talk’ and get some fresh air together? Go for a stroll in a local park, or if you want to sit and eat, opt for a table outside in the sunshine.


DOUBLE YOUR VITAMIN D
Another reason to get outdoors is you’ll get more vitamin D, but be sun smart – just 10-15 minutes of sun mid-morning or afternoon can provide enough vitamin D. This sunshine vitamin helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphate, which we need for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. You can also get small amounts of vitamin D from eggs, mushrooms and fortified foods like margarines, some milks and soy milks.


PUSH YOUR COMFORT ZONE
If you’ve never tried camping or hiking before, they’re both inexpensive activities that encourage fun times in the great outdoors.

Subscribe to Wholicious Living to stay up-to-date with the latest health and nutrition advice.
 

You might also like ...

Sign up to a happier, healthier you.

Get new articles on health and nutrition each month so you can live a wholicious life.

Check your inbox

Created with Sketch.

You have subscribed to a happier, healthier you – that’s what wholicious living is all about.