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The Outstanding Benefits Of Being Outdoors

We typically talk up the social benefits of getting together for a picnic. The joy we feel when we’re with the people we love is good for the soul. But a mental health expert working in San Diego says any time spent outdoors – and a picnic has to be the nicest way to do that – is a tonic for the body as well as the mind.

Erica Price has one of the best job titles in the world: certified therapeutic recreational specialist! Going by that title alone, she is highly qualified to discuss the advantages of being outdoors and recently published these five significant benefits

- Lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress: Spending time walking or relaxing outdoors, or even doing something as simple as looking at trees, can lower your blood pressure and reduce the level of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

- Improves your mood: Price cites research that finds that nature makes us happy for no real reason at all! Anxiety, depression and anger are known to significantly decrease after spending time outdoors.

- Improves focus: Adults and children who struggle to focus, or to control their impulses report that they are better able to concentrate after being in nature. The natural environment lets our brains take a break from everything that drains us in a mental sense, and it can even reduce the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

- Speeds up the healing process: Illness and surgery can be painful and frightening experiences, and in turn, this increases stress which slows down the healing process. Price points to more research that found that patients who spent time outdoors as part of their recovery needed fewer painkillers, experienced less complications and required shorter hospital stays.

- Supports graceful aging: Price says that a study in the Journal of Aging and Health found that adults over 70 who spent decent amounts of time outdoors experienced fewer sleep difficulties, complained less about aches and pains, enjoyed enhanced mobility and an improved ability to perform daily activities.

So, the next time you lay one of our picnic blankets on the ground and spend time with your loved ones, you can do so knowing that all of that fun and togetherness is doing your mind and body a world of good. In fact, the benefits are so numerous that we prescribe a picnic on a regular basis!

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