• robinmaydavis

Despite the summer heat, get outdoors

I checked the website, programmed Google Maps, and headed out the door. Saturday morning I drove forty minutes out of Austin to get a dose of greenery at Krause Springs. Too many weeks had gone by being cooped up in the house. The gardens, waterfalls, and the scenery were just what I needed.

Summer here in Texas, like a midwestern winter, makes it hard to get outdoors. The heat these last few weeks has been pretty oppressive and many people who typically get outside regularly have been opting out.

Getting outdoors is good for your health

Despite the dangers of the heat, getting outdoors has been supported with data to be good for our health. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors improves both subjective and some objective measures of stress. A study in England which looked at over 20,000 people noted that young or old, 120 minutes in nature was the optimal time per week. This seemed to be beneficial whether the time was all in a single two hour slot or broken into smaller bits.

120 minutes in nature was the optimal time per week

So if you are trying to consider how to weave outdoor time in to our remaining days of summer- consider getting out early when the temperatures are lowest, cooling off in the water while outdoors, or just going out for brief intervals to minimize getting overheated. If you are just not up to it the next few weeks, prioritize reintroducing outdoor time as the temperature recedes. As we near fall, get back to walking the dog more, hitting the park with the kids, or getting out for that evening jog.

“Between every two pine trees is a doorway leading to a new way of life” -- John Muir

Mathew P. White, Ian Alcock, James Grellier, Benedict W. Wheeler, Terry Hartig, Sara L. Warber, Angie Bone, Michael H. Depledge, Lora E. Fleming. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3


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