How the Great Outdoors Makes you Healthy

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My boyfriend Greg and I have been hiking in the Adirondacks quite a bit this summer. We love Lake Placid; the restaurants cater to health enthusiasts like us with hearty, delicious, and healthy food choices and there is something uplifting about the fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains.

What I truly love is that just by being outside I am taking awesome measures to take care of myself—yes, even as healthy as I am, I am improving my health. Here are

my favorite scientifically proven benefits of the outdoors.

  • Vitamin D Rocks!

The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. Soak in those rays for at least 20 minutes a day without sunscreen to reap the benefits. Vitamin D boosts your immune system, collaborates with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K to protect your bones, and it can even help prevent diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease.

  • Super Slumber

Sweet sleep feels so amazing…and when you are outside often, you keep your circadian rhythm working the way it was meant to, helping you to sleep when it is dark and rise when it is light. Nature has been proven to help prevent insomnia as well-an awesome bonus. See, there are psychological and physiological reasons you sleep better just by spending time outside!

  • Bright Eyes

Most of us wear sunglasses in the summer and that’s important for protecting your eyes, but even with those shades on, do you being outside helps your eyes? Artificial light and constant staring at electronic devices inside literally kills your eyesight. Get outside often to rest those eyes!

  • Maintainin’ a Healthy Weight

Being outdoors generally forces you to move your body more…and that exercise is awesome for maintaining a healthy weight. You don’t need to hike mountains like me; even a nice walk around the block is literal steps in the right direction!

  • Helpin’ my Heart

A recent study in Australia found that just 30 minutes of exposure to nature each week can reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by nine percent. Imagine if you spent 30 minutes outdoors a few times each week?!

  • Marvelous Mood

Exposure to nature has been proven to boost your serotonin (feel-good hormone) levels! Sometimes when you are feeling blah, a step int the Great Outdoors can spark the joy we all need!

Time to pull yourself away from the electronic device, step outside, take in a deep breath, and delve into all the benefits that nature offers us!

Drought-Friendly Food Choices

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Read, watch, or listen to any major news source and you become very aware of the fact that we are in a drought. It’s ironic that I have been telling you to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration, while we are in a drought, right? I am not going to take those words away; it is crucial for you to prevent dehydration these scolding hot summer months. However, I will tell you some things you can do to be conscientious about the shortage in water supply when you consider your food choices. And guess what? All the food choices I recommend are healthy!!!

  • Eat less meat! I’ve said this before with the reasoning being related to the mounds of research with evidence that a primarily plant-based diet is way healthier. When it comes to a drought, eating less meat is important. It takes tons more water to produce meat than it does plants. The amount of water you use in a daily shower for six months is pretty close to the same amount of water it takes to produce one pound of beef. I was shocked when I learned that statistic.
  • Eat plants that require little water to grow; American cucumbers, eggplant, chard, and a variety of tomatoes are the examples that immediately come to mind. Mother Earth has a handy list that also included different grains and seeds that are heat tolerant.
  • Eat less processed foods. This is something I’ve said many times before for several reasons; processed foods do not keep you satiated and they pack on the pounds. In terms of our drought, keep in mind that a lot of water is used in processing the food and packaging.

Hopefully, we will get some rain showers to help alleviate this drought (ideally while we slumber through the nights). Meanwhile, try to keep my tips in mind when making food choices; they’re good for the earth during this drought and they’re good for you too!