In my KG days, there used to be an Outdoor Activity period when the tiny ones would be let out loose in the school premises. We, often, wondered how nice our Outdoor Activity teacher was, allowing us so much of time in the lush green grass, among the bountiful coconut trees inside the park. Little did we know that we were meant to acclimatize with nature and her manifestations of heat and drizzle.
Recently, a Dutch study made it clear that those who lived within a mile of a park or wooded area experience better health anxiety and depression than others. The study points out that staying close by the pristine nature does have a positive influence on your overall health by reducing the occurrences of depression and anxiety which comes in the package of today’s lifestyle. This research was aimed at assessing the health status for 24 conditions among people including cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological diseases. And it was concluded that those living in the urban environments had a higher prevalence of 15 of the 24 health conditions they listed. Nature helped the rural dwellers stay healthier by her simple ability to de-stress and tranquilize. No wonder Romantic poets like Wordsworth, Coleridge Shelley and Keats drew their inspiration from nature to write their immortal poems.
Here is how outdoor activity may get rid of “nature-deficit-disorder” and help change our lives for the better:
- Stress and anxiety- An urban life with all its paraphernalia contributes to a lot of physical as well as mental stress. And with stress comes Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other lifestyle diseases. A peak in to the nature once in a while or a few houseplants can help a great deal in thwarting stress related medical problems. Going to a bright sunny environment definitely aided those with winter blues and eased their symptoms of anxiety and depression. So go trekking once a week or go for a walk in the nearby park every day.
- Obesity- The new study demands a need for children to have compulsory physical activity to check childhood obesity and related illnesses. Spending some quality time outside would get them more active, enable them to learn more about nature, stop idleness and disengage them from television and computers.
- ADHD- Going green in a natural setting has proven miraculous results in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.A natural and “wild” environment led to more improvement in ADHD children than a man-made park or any indoor game area. Mother nature, perhaps, kept them more engaged and agile to complete their tasks than her artificial counterparts did.
It does not necessarily mean that you need to move out of your cozy city life to stay with nature, enjoy the benefits and be healthier. You can still reap good results by strolling in a botanical garden or by spending a weekend near the waters!
In this era of technological innovations, surgical miracles and medical breakthroughs this new finding may be dismissed with a guffaw. Yet, it is a wishful thinking to have a home near the woods and swing away your worries and woes. In the lines of Robert Frost:
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.