The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

As we enjoy the long sunny days of summer, it’s a good time to reflect on the many benefits of nature and the great outdoors.

Physically, there’s the benefit of increased vitamin D, commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin.” Vitamin D is beneficial to the body in many ways, including the regulation of calcium absorption, and in facilitating normal immune system functioning. It is also known to improve resistance against certain diseases, and to improve mood.

Studies have also shown that being in nature improves mood and mental health. A study conducted by Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at Stanford University, found that greenspace can improve mood. He compared 2 groups of walkers – half who walked for 50 minutes in a natural park like setting, and half who walked in an urban setting. He found that those who walked in nature had less anxiety and negative thinking than the urban walkers.

In a follow-up study, using brain scans that track blood flow, he found that study participants who walked in nature had improved mood that actually correlated with changes in the brain, as compared to the participants who walked along an urban highway and did not demonstrate this improvement.

Another study, conducted by researchers in Michigan, found that a brief walk in a natural environment can actually improve memory performance and attention span. Participants in the study did 20% better on a memory test after spending an hour walking in a nature area versus walking through busy downtown streets.

So if you’re not in the practice already of spending time in nature, try to spend some time today in the Great Outdoors. For more information on how to boost your mood and feel vitally healthy, go to

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