The Most Powerful Contributor to Your Health
Turns out Nature IS a healer.
That’s right. It’s called, biophilia. The “biophilia effect” is applied to this deep connection we humans have to nature. Semantically, it means "love of life” and the theory states that we are endowed with a genetic link to nature that has evolved from our early human ancestors whose existence and survival were synonymous with the natural environment.
Nature for Health
Evidence for the biophilia effect has been scientifically demonstrated. Research has shown that nature experiences and interaction with the natural elements have a profound effect on our mental performance, self-awareness, vigor, appreciation of others and our environment.
What’s more Outdoor exposure has been shown to be even more beneficial when it is connected to exercise. Levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter closely related to mood, rise when we’re outside. A study at the University of Queensland found that regular outdoor runners were less anxious and depressed than people who ran indoors on a treadmill, and had higher levels of post-exercise endorphins (the feel-good brain chemicals associated with “runner’s high”).
Plus, you do your lungs a favor when you exercise outdoors: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air in the U.S. is three to five times more polluted than outdoor air (meaning on average, the indoor air is 75% more polluted than outdoor air!).
Nature as Therapy
The emerging branches of outdoor therapy programs are often referred to as Wilderness Programs. Over the years, programs such as Outward Bound, have proven to be exceptional catalysts for change in teens and adults.
Although the first nature therapy center opened in the late 1700’s, outdoor therapy is surprisingly young and is now most often referred to as Adventure Therapy and Ecopsychology.
Apart from the science, most of us instinctively comprehend our affinity to nature, yet may rarely indulge in this connection. By periodically immersing ourselves in nature, we give our body and senses a chance to restore and energize. Outdoor Fitness is an excellent way to give yourself "permission" to make outdoor exposure part of your lifestyle.
Bottom line: For better health, fitness and well-being, “take it outside!”