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The restorative power of the great outdoors shouldn’t be underestimated

DIRT THERAPY By Marianne Taylor
DIRT THERAPY By Marianne Taylor

By Marianne Taylor

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks”
—John Muir

When is the last time you gave yourself permission to go out for a long walk in nature? To disconnect from technology, time constraints and family demands—just you and nature? If you’re like most hurried people on the planet, you probably haven’t had the time or opportunity to add a walk to your busy schedule. You may be surprised by the power of a 20-minute walk—it could be the very thing you need for your overall health.

Nature seeks to heal our hurried, anxious and stressful lives. The energy that is released back to us in nature is the healing component that reduces our blood pressure, improves moods and helps with clarity and focus as we breathe in deeply.

How does nature hold this power? Studies have shown that green spaces improve vitality in humans. Vitality is defined as emotional strength in the face of internal and external oppositions; living a life of enthusiasm. Want more zest in life? Walking is your antidote.

Need more proof that walking is good for the body and soul? Listed below are numerous facts on human health and the healing power of nature:

  1. Immunity boost—plants and trees emit airborne phytoncides that protect themselves and benefits humans.
  2. Sunlight—getting a daily dose of Vitamin D with every walk helps prevent osteoporosis and cancer.
  3. Happiness—increased energy, less fatigue, better sleep and more productivity at work.
  4. Serenity, peace and calm—tensions go away when we breathe deeply.
  5. Creativity—constant distractions and stimulation of modern life are a threat that can lead to sapping our resources.
  6. Improves memory and cognitive function due to better breathing.

This holiday weekend, I challenge you to go take a walk and make it a habit to spend more time in nature. Exercise outside, have lunch outside and spend as much time on your weekends as you can in nature. This is one gift that you can give yourself that will continue to give and produce healthy benefits forever.

Starting in January, Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens will be offering garden walks at Reata Park and Event Center in San Juan Capistrano during the lunch hour 12-12:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Bring a bagged lunch after and sit under a tree.

Now that’s a great way to start off the New Year. Here’s to your health!

Interested in walking at noon? Email or call 949.606.6704.

Marianne Taylor, of San Juan Capistrano, is the founder and executive director of Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens, a 501(c)(3) teaching gardening and life skills as a way of empowering, engaging and connecting people. Goin Native focuses on educating local families, special needs adults, seniors, at-risk youth and members of the military.

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