TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Nurtured by nature
Humans need nature. We need it for the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink, the resources we use. We need it for our own health and wellbeing.
Many of us know that spending time in natural environments makes us feel better but there is also good science backing this up. From walking in woodland to gardening, spending time outdoors on a regular basis is time well spent.
Walking amongst trees can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress and even boost the immune system. Not only is the air likely to be less polluted, within a wood we’re also breathing in chemicals produced by the plants. Trees emit airborne chemicals called phytoncides to protect themselves against germs and insects. Breathing in these chemicals can boost natural killer immune cells that help fight infection.
And when you’re gardening you’re breathing in a harmless bacterium that’s present in soil. It’s called mycobacterium vaccae. Not only is it non-pathogenic, it can cause the release of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is sometimes called the happy chemical because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
The problem can be finding time to do these things. How do we make room for nature in our busy lives? The Wildlife Trusts are here to help. This June, we are encouraging people to take part in the 30 Days Wild challenge - to do something wild every day of the month. It can be very simple, like stopping what you are doing for five minutes and listening to bird song or eating lunch outside and watching butterflies. Whether for a few minutes or a whole day, what matters is making time for nature.
The Wildlife Trusts have worked with the University of Derby and have proved that taking part in 30 Days Wild and spending time in nature can make people healthier and happier. So what are you waiting for? For help and inspiration, sign up for the 30 Days Wild challenge at: www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild