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Get Away! The Great Outdoor Escape

I have never met anyone who did not like to take a walk in nature. Whether in the mountains or coastline, nature has restorative benefits to our health and well being. It’s a fact. According to a published study from National Center For Biotechnology Information (part of the United States National Library of Medicine), ‘People exposed to urban environments are forced to use their attention to overcome the effects of constant stimulation and this in turn over time induces cognitive fatigue. In contrast, natural environments elicit feelings of pleasure. It’s a sense of escape of daily demands in which this restorative environment promotes related experiences of being away.’

According to a University of California/Berkeley, nature has a variety of effects on our wellbeing such as makes us kinder, happier and more creative.  Several studies reinforce both psychological and physiological benefits such as lower heart rates (indicating more relaxation and less stress), better moods, and less anxiety. These studies even indicated that being in natural spaces which can include just looking out of a window into a natural environment. Both scenarios soothes and relieves stress. Other benefits shared include:
– Nature relieves attention fatigue.
– Nature increases creativity.
– Nature helps us to be open to creativity.
– Nature fosters better problem solving skills.
– Nature may help you to be kind and generous.
– Nature makes you feel more alive, less brooding.

This phenomenon is not only psychological but physiological. In a one study at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, participants had their brains monitored continuously using a mobile electroencephalogram (EEG). They were monitored as they walked through urban green space areas. The EEG reading showed that they had lower frustration, engagement and arousal and higher meditation levels while in the green area. The prefrontal cortex recovers with nature. This creates burst of creativity, problem solving and feelings of well being.

St. Johns County has beautiful untouched walks and parks. Where are some places to get away in St. Johns County? Here is the list of our parks:  https://www.sjcfl.us/Recreation/Parks/index.aspx.

Make it a plan to go out and venture to a new park or walking trail. You can walk with friends, family or dog. Wear comfy clothes and sneakers, the cost can be free at many locations. See you out there!

 

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