Lake Michigan's Left Coast

Green Talk: Get Outside, Feel Better

August 2015

Elizabeth G Fagan wrote a column for the Ozaukee County News Graphic on behalf of Mequon Nature Preserve in 2015–16
More about the digital artist Elizabeth G Fagan


New research points to specific factors supporting the claim that being in nature is good for us, a claim that most of us already know, or at least, know intuitively. Being outdoors generally means getting exercise and becoming untethered from electronic devices that cause us to be sedentary creatures of the great indoors. Because trees and plants pull pollutants into their leaves and release fresh air, there is truth to the idea that going outside and “getting a breath of fresh air” makes us feel better.

More recently, though, one study links sunlight and its physiological by-products—including vitamin D—with everything from cancer prevention to improved sports performance to weight loss. The alarmist notion that one should never be exposed to a solitary ray of sun without sunblock has been dispelled. Refer to your health resources to find out how to welcome sunshine back into your life.

Other studies target the effects of nature on the brain. People who live in cities without access to green spaces have a higher risk for anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, or even those city dwellers who do spend time in parks or other natural areas. Brain scans support the theory that people walking in nature spend less time thinking negative thoughts than those walking amid the urban jungle.

Join us on August 22 for Nature’s Play Day, a free event from 9 AM to 5 PM, at Mequon Nature Preserve at 8200 W. County Line Road, Mequon. For more information, visit us online at mequonnaturepreserve.org or call (262) 242-8055.

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