MOnly Ost people feel Perfect after a walk in the woods or jogging through a city park. Research supports this. People who spend more time in nature not only have lower rates of depression and healthier blood pressure, they also have better vision, better pain control, stronger immune function, and even more Mortality rates are also lower. When it comes to drugs, they are fairly inexpensive and have very few side effects.
“Explicit time spent in nature is really, really important for humans,” says Christopher Minson, a professor of human physiology at the University of Oregon who studies the health benefits of green space. “That’s how we evolved.”
There is a growing movement aimed at allowing doctors to prescribe more natural remedies to their patients, but one barrier is how much to prescribe and which patients have regular exposure. It’s about knowing what you’re missing and how to make sure you follow your doctor’s orders. So a team of researchers across the United States has developed new tracking and evaluation technology to help collect data for research and measure patients’ personal demographics.
Spending time in nature is fairly low cost and has few side effects.
The app, called NatureScore, quantifies the amount of nature available in specific areas of the United States and Canada. Another app called NatureDose can measure nature in your diet, meaning how much time you spend outdoors and in green spaces. For these apps, American Health Promotion Journal.
NatureScore integrates information from 30 different datasets on air pollution, tree cover, parks, roads, and Street View imagery to rank the natural richness of a given geographic area from 0 to 100. Create a score. Minson, a co-author of the new paper, notes that some types of natural environments score lower than others. For example, beaches don’t fare as well as green spaces.
“Science now shows that there is something about green spaces, whether it’s the natural fractal patterns we see in trees or the presence of plants and soil that emit various chemicals that can affect us. “I’m saying,” he says. “However, a significant number of studies have shown that the beach does not provide the same health benefits.”
Another tool, NatureDose, is a free app that passively monitors the time you spend indoors, outdoors, and in natural environments through your smartphone’s location. It can sense when someone is in a car and when someone is riding a bike or jogging. The app also allows users to set a goal for time spent in nature each week and is already being used in many nature-tracking health studies across the United States.
When it comes to finding the best natural environment, Minson recommends looking for spaces filled with a variety of plants. “The healthiest forests are those with the most diverse tree species,” he says. He likens the health benefits to food. There is evidence that eating a variety of foods leads to a healthy gut microbiome. “I think the same thing can be said in nature.”
Perhaps a few years from now, when you go for a checkup, your doctor will give you a prescription for a walk in your local nature preserve, along with or instead of a drug Rx.
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