Summer is still in full swing, and this time of year provides the most opportunities for everyone to get outside and enjoy nature. I hope everyone can take advantage of that this summer, because getting outside and spending time with nature has real measurable health benefits for your mind and body.
How getting outside helps your body
Increased exercise benefits
Being in a natural environment increases the amount of benefits we get from exercise. Being in a natural environment helps you feel more at ease and more motivated. This can lead to a much better workout compared to being inside or in a city environment. If you’re able to spend time in a place with a high elevation, being exposed to the mountains can also help with weight loss.
Nature also has a positive effect on blood pressure. Studies show that taking a walk-in nature versus a walk through the city lowers blood pressure.
The lead contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan that has been ongoing for several years now has brought to light the danger of lead in our homes, neighborhoods, and bodies. As the people of Flint fight to get their water free of the deadly substance, more cities across the nation are taking stock of the serious threat that lead poses.
As many of you who have been around long enough to see it, lead was everywhere in the not-too-distant past. Lead based gasoline and paint were some of the most common uses. Many of our cities underground utilities were built with lead pipes. As people became more aware of the dangers of lead, its use was reduced, but the scars of the past remain.
I recently came across an article in the Atlantic Monthly that details another lead crisis in one of our cities, this time in New Orleans. After years of neglect for the city’s public housing projects, thousands of children and adults were subjected to lead poising from lead paint, pipes, and contaminated soil. Even though these residents were aware of the lead issue, dozens of lawsuits did little to fix the problem.