On average, people spend only about 5 percent of their time outside, and that time could include things like taking out the trash … not necessarily what we would call quality time. The other 95 percent of our time is spent indoors. Indoors? Yes indoors with the artificial lighting, camped out in front of the t.v, the computer, and whatever else to seem to call our attention to living in the “Great Indoors”.
According to the latest research published in the “Lancet”, “The Tsimane, a forager-horticulturalist population of the Bolivian Amazon with few coronary artery disease risk factors, have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population recorded to date. These findings suggest that coronary atherosclerosis can be avoided in most people by achieving a lifetime with very low LDL, low blood pressure, low glucose, normal body-mass index, no smoking, and plenty of physical activity.” An 80-year-old Tsimane has about the same heart and artery health as the average American in his or her 50s, the team reports in the Lancet medical journal.
“Most of the Tsimane are able to live their entire life without developing any coronary atherosclerosis. This has never been seen in any prior research,” said Dr. Gregory Thomas of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, who worked on the study.
More Time In Nature:
Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.
Research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.
In addition, nature helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort.
This is nicely demonstrated in a now classic study of patients who underwent gallbladder surgery; half had a view of trees and half had a view of a wall. According to the physician who conducted the study, Robert Ulrich, the patients with the view of trees tolerated pain better, appeared to nurses to have fewer negative effects, and spent less time in a hospital.
One of the most intriguing areas of current research is the impact of nature on general well-being. In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka show that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood, and psychological well-being, meaningfulness, and vitality.
Furthermore, time in nature or viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention. Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.
So it is spring time. The trees are blossoming, the flowers are blooming, and the grass is green. I walk in the fields below the mountains and take in all that nature has to show me. There is an abundance of tranquility and quiet inside me. The truth is nature is the prescription for better health, lowering blood pressure, elevating moods, and is a tonic for the soul. This is the secret to a long fulfilling life.
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