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8 Ways Being in Nature Improves Your Health

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nature and heart health

We’ve all heard the phrase, “stop and smell the roses.” But what if that phrase was more literal? Studies have shown us that taking time to enjoy nature can provide many physical and mental health benefits. 

Research shows that people who live closer to a green space live longer and have fewer health issues than those who don’t. 

A recent study published in the journal Nature found that fewer antidepressants were subscribed to persons living in areas with tree-lined streets vs. those with fewer trees.

This article will unpack five ways spending time in nature can help you live a healthier life.

Spending time in nature reduces stress 

There is no denying the connection between high levels of chronic stress and sickness. Being in nature has been proven to reduce stress levels, improve mood, and help people who suffer from anxiety and depression find relief. 

Studies conducted on patients with depression showed that taking part in outdoor activities such as walking or gardening for just 20 minutes a day can reduce symptoms significantly. Even watching birds outside your window can make a difference! 

Spending time in nature reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

Evidence gathered from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million participants was examined to evaluate the impact of nature on health. What was found was nothing short of astounding.

Exposure to natural areas clearly has an impact on health. Researchers found that persons living in areas with more nature had a reduced risk of type 11 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, stress, high blood pressure, and even preterm birth. An increase in sleep duration was also noted amongst those living closest to natural spaces.

According to study author Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, 

“Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now, the impact on our long-term well-being hasn’t been fully understood. We gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost. green space’ was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban greenspaces, which included urban parks and street greenery. People living closer to nature had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.”

Study author Prof Andy Jones noted the following,

“We often reach for medication when we’re unwell, but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognised as both preventing and helping treat disease. Our study shows that the size of these benefits can be enough to have a meaningful clinical impact.”

Spending time in nature can increase physical activity

It is well known that physical activity can help with weight loss, but spending time outdoors has also been linked to increased physical activity levels overall! Being outdoors encourages people to be more active without enduring an intense workout routine—perfect for those winter hikes or weekend bike rides! 

Spending time in nature boosts immunity

Exposure to natural elements like dirt, bacteria, and pollen helps boost your immune system by exposing it to beneficial microorganisms. Research has also found that spending time in nature can reduce inflammation, leading to many chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. 

Moreover, spending time outdoors has been linked with higher levels of Vitamin D, which has numerous health benefits, including stronger bones and a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Spending time in nature improves concentration and memory retention 

A National Institutes of Aging-supported study published in JAMA Network Open found that middle-aged women living in areas with more green space experience faster thinking, better attention, and higher cognitive function than those living in areas with less green space. 

Researchers suggest that greenspaces, including gardens, grass, trees, parks, flower gardens, etc., could be examined as a possible community-based approach to better cognitive health.

Get out in nature.

Here are a few fun ideas to inspire you to spend more time outdoors in nature! 

Take a bike ride. Biking is a healthy activity that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors without going too far from home. Whether you’re interested in leisurely rides around town or more challenging mountain biking trails, cyclists of all levels have plenty of options. If biking alone isn’t your thing, consider joining a local cycling club. 

Go camping: Nothing beats spending time outdoors in nature while camping under the stars. You can camp anywhere from your backyard to nearby parks or go on a more extended camping trip with friends or family. Make sure you come prepared with all the necessary equipment to enjoy your camping experience without worries! 

Play at a park: Make the most of your free time by visiting the nearest park with friends or family. Pack up a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy it together while taking in the sights around you. Some parks have installed extra large outdoor size board games like chess or checkers, which can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors while playing your favorite game!

Watch birds: This popular activity involves observing birds in their natural environment. It is a great way to learn more about different species and appreciate their beauty from afar. All you need to get started is a pair of binoculars, a telescope, and some identification books to help you recognize different birds. 

Take a hike: Hiking is an excellent way to explore nature while simultaneously getting some exercise and sunshine. Choose a trail near you with varying difficulty levels so everyone can join in on the fun regardless of their physical fitness level. Don’t forget to bring snacks, water, and appropriate clothing to stay safe during your hike! 

Go fishing: Fishing is one of the best ways to relax and take it easy for a few hours (or days). Whether you prefer fly fishing or deep sea fishing, plenty of options are available depending on where you live. All you need is basic fishing gear such as rods, reels, lures, bait, and tackle boxes.

Next steps

Make it a habit to get outside for at least twenty minutes daily, immerse yourself in nature, and soak up the sunshine. Whether it be a stroll around your neighborhood or engaging in an outdoor activity that you love – the key is consistency and doing something you enjoy! 


Medical Review: Dr. Jack Wolfson, 2023

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About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

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Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.