I just came home from a fantastic vacation on the West Coast. My husband and I both felt it was one of the best holidays ever. I’m sure it had much to do with the fact that we were outdoors every day. Visiting family in the rainy city of Portland Oregon turned out to be a rare week of 72-80 degrees of sunshine. Each day we ventured out along the beautiful Columbia River, hiking waterfalls, strolling through Japanese Gardens and putting our toes in the sand at the spectacular Oregon Coast.
In todays world many of us are Nature Challenged, spending far too many hours behind the wheel of a car or in front of a computer. We know that children watch too much T.V. and play too many video games. A 2009 study in the Journal of Epidemiology found a correlation between where you live and how healthy you are. The findings state that people who live close to nature tend to be healthier than those who don’t.
DID YOU KNOW that many people believe that walking barefoot on grass, dirt or sand can improve your health? This is called Grounding or Earthing and is thought to help balance the nervous system, decrease inflammation in the body along with lowering the stress hormone cortisol.
But DID YOU KNOW that being in nature can improve distance vision in children? Also evidence is rising suggesting that children who spend little time playing outdoors are at greater risk of ADHD.
And finally, DID YOU KNOW that trees give off most of their oxygen in the morning? It wakes up the birds and makes them sing. They have their own vibration and by hugging a tree we can reset our own biological rhythms. We align ourselves with the natural world the way our ancestors did.
Getting a much needed break from technology, lots of exercise and fresh air all add up to a great outdoor vacation. My next trip to Portland is likely to have 7 straight days of rain; that’s when there will be plenty of time to hit the coffee shops, super-sized book stores and museums. But I think I’ll make time for a nice walk in the rain too…and maybe I’ll even go barefoot.