It’s no secret that a walk in the sun or a dip in the ocean makes you feel good. Immersing yourself in nature gives you a health boost. There are countless ways the great outdoors contributes to health and well-being, but we’re just going to focus on eight.
1. Down to Earth
Remember how happy you were as a kid making mud pies? It turns out microbes in the soil can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, giving you a natural boost of happiness. Maybe this explains why children and gardeners are so content digging in the dirt all day. So skip the pills and head for the hills when you’ve got the blues.
Getting down to earth can include walking and digging in sand. As kids, we enjoyed the feel of the ocean spray as we built sand castles. Why not duplicate the feeling with Sea Salt Body Scrub or Ocean Air Facial Spray? Before there was soap, people used sand and saltwater to keep clean.
2. Barefoot Battery Charging
The simple pleasures of walking barefooted may be a bit more complex than you thought. Proponents of “earthing” have long suggested an organic benefit to connecting with the earth beneath your feet. Now, there’s science to back it up. Barefoot walking exposes you to earth’s natural electrons, which create a sense of calm and have an antioxidant effect on the body. Some consider this earth-exposure “charging the body’s batteries.” The side effects of improved sleep, reduced inflammation, and better immune function makes it easy to see why.
3. ACV Balancing Act
Long touted for its ability to combat skin and digestive issues, apple cider vinegar is one of our best allies for balancing our pH levels. Using an apple cider vinegar shampoo nourishes your hair and scalp and increases sebaceous gland activity by flushing out debris, oil buildup, and bacteria. This natural product has been used for generations for a reason: It works in harmony with our bodies.
4. Nature Rx
In Japan, doctors have prescribed shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” since the ’70s for patients recovering from surgery or needing a health boost. The prescription calls for visiting a natural area, and “bathing” in it by walking, relaxed and unfocused, without digital distraction. Proven to elevate moods and boost immunity, this is the medicine we’ve been looking for.
Speaking of bathing, there’s a reason many doctors prescribe mud baths. Mud and clay can relieve muscle and joint pain They also help people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and remove toxins from both your hair and skin. While it’s sometimes difficult to find a muddy pond to immerse yourself in, a Mineral Mud Hair Mask can be as close as your cosmetics cabinet.
5. Ancient Eastern: Ayurveda
In India, medical diagnosis traditionally begins with an assessment of your “dosha” or body type. Ayurveda classifies people into three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. While most people fall under one primary category, the goal is to balance all three through diet and medicinal herbs. This ancient form of medicine has taken hold in the West in recent years, as patients and doctors discover how effective the natural approach can be.
6. The Local Food Movement
Community gardens are a great way to grow extra-tasty tomatoes and get some greens into your diet, but they boost health in some unexpected ways, too. Connecting with community members is an amazing way to cultivate new friendships — a necessary ingredient in health and wellness. There’s also the antidepressants in the soil (see No. 1 above). So while farm-to-table movements are fantastic, farm-to-face neighborhood movements are an even better organic health booster.
Creating a backyard garden is also a great way to lift your spirits while social distancing. It gives you fresh produce without having to make a trip to the store.
7. The Sunshine Vitamin
Anyone who’s been to the doctor in the last decade knows that vitamin D is a big deal. It’s essential for healthy bones and teeth, and helps to keep our immune systems cranking. It reduces depression and anxiety, and may even support weight loss. The primary source of this critical nutrient is the sun. Because our ancestors spent most of their time outdoors, they soaked up sunshine every day. All the time we spend indoors and behind screens means most of us are woefully deficient in this crucial vitamin. The bottom line is simple: Spend a little time in the sun each day. It’s the easiest prescription in the world.
8. Lawn Mower Fitness
Even if you don’t have time to get out into the forest or walk barefoot, nature can give you an organic health boost. Lawn mowing, one of the most basic parts of maintaining a yard, is a life-lenthening activity. Trimming your turf is an excellent opportunity to soak up a little vitamin D and get your blood moving. The mere act of pushing a mower across the yard for a little while can lower your blood pressure, burn some calories, and elevate your state of mind.
So next time you need an organic health boost, remember Mother Nature knows best.
Jenna King is a writer, avid hiker, and survivalist. She spends most of her time backpacking and using organic elements within nature.