Are you getting enough “vitamin N?” Women’s Health magazine partnered with The Nature Conservancy, a charitable U.S. environmental organization, to conduct an online survey in December 2012, which examined women’s relationships with the outdoors. The findings concluded that women are spending more time indoors than ever, putting them at risk for a deficiency in vitamin N, or nature.
Strengthening your bond with nature can yield significant mind-body benefits, as humans have an innate attraction and connection with the outdoors. Studies show that reduced exposure to nature is linked to a higher risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and that stressed women often take the edge off by watching TV, eating or drinking a glass of wine, instead of going for a walk in the park.
1. Re-route your walk to pass through a patch of grass, which can boost your attention span.
2. Eat lunch outside. A little fresh air and vitamin D can do wonders for your midday mood.
3. Grow your own greens. Even if it’s just a pot of basil on the patio, it’s the freshest fare you can get.
4. Dog-sit for a pal. K-9 owners are more likely to get adequate exercise outdoors than their puppy-free peers. If you don’t have a pet, borrow your friend’s. Plus, walking a dog is a great way to meet new people.