Spending time in nature can be likened to taking an eco-health supplement or life preservative! At the very least, an adventure to share with your family, friends, and acquaintances during a team-building exercise.
Whether you notice or not, Nature has a huge impact on humans. Examples of how nature influences your mood, personal meaning or well-being are easily illustrated. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the clothes we wear the fuel that keeps us warm and drives your car, the sports we play, the holidays we go on and the memories we create are connected directly with nature.
Part of HutReno’s commitment to backcountry sustainability is encouraging volunteers to use their eco-awareness by drawing on nature’s health benefits.
Natures Eco-Health Benefits
The following eco-health benefits will help you realize the importance of being eco-active in the great outdoors.
Your daily dose of Vitamin D
Maintaining a healthy immune system is helped by exposure to the sun (sensible sun exposure – sunblock does not adversely affect vitamin D levels). Vitamin D is a hormonal chemical which is released into the body by the right amount of sunlight. Vitamin D is also known to act as part of the body’s resistance to a range of illnesses.
Decreases depressive feelings or the state of depression
Spending time in the great outdoors with others can help reduce depressive feelings, negative emotional states, attitudes or anti-social behaviour.
Increase personal motivation
There is no doubt that motivation is strong support for encouraging goal-setting and accomplishment. Motivation is the stuff champions are made of and forms part of their successful foundation. The benefits of walking, hiking, tramping, climbing, cycling or swimming will leave you feeling refreshed and motivated.
The incentive, enthusiasm or impetus for wanting good health needs the company of nature.
Improves your sleep patterns
Having good sleep patterns has a lot to do with having a balanced lifestyle. Spending copious amounts of time indoors and/or being exposed to prolonged periods of artificial light or the blue light from TVs and computer screens can negatively impact on sleep patterns or lead to insomnia or sleep deprivation. Prioritising time outdoors means the natural sunlight can help balance your natural circadian rhythm.
Helps the mind to stay focused
Taking a stroll through a park, hike in the forest or overnight in a hut can be invigorating or restorative as you internalize and externalize a different language with those around you. In this context spending quality time away from your daily routines refreshes an individual’s focus as well as improving cognitive function and problem-solving capability.
Helps balance out stress and anxiety
Busy schedules, demanding timelines and exhaustion can have short and long term health and relational consequences. Understanding and applying basic self-awareness, knowing your bottom lines, monitoring individual stress triggers and utilizing self-preservation skills can help balance emotional and psychological well-being. Taking time out to picnic in the natural environment, relax by a stream, the beach, garden or under a tree, looking over a landscape, hillside or mountain range is therapeutic and contributes to balance accumulated stress and anxiety.
A big reason for ignoring the value of scheduling time in nature is procrastination, boredom or being over-committed and fatigued. This may stifle the body’s natural highs that make you feel motivated, energetic or content. The body’s natural highs include adrenalin, serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and are known as “happiness hormones”. These neurochemicals play a large part in how we feel, think and act. Having regular contact with the outdoors will help create these happy hormonal highs and keep them in healthy supply.
Exercise helps to refresh oxygen levels, encourages blood flow and keeps the body moving while getting you in better shape. Even going out for a brisk walk where there is no membership fee or need for special equipment and is as close as going through your front door.
Other Helpful Tips
Exercise earlier in the day if possible or other times that suit your schedule, but make it regular. Avoid temperature extremes. Use sun block and watch burn out by over exercise (baby steps). Drink enough water/fluid. Wear the right gear for the right environment. Make the great out-doors part of your lifestyle. If going on an overnight hike, take the right gear, leave a plan of your whereabouts, who you are going with and scheduled return and take a locator beacon (PLB). Join a walking or tramping club.
Enjoy being eco-healthy and plan your next adventure in nature’s wonderland now!