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Effect of Nature on Obesity

Effect of Nature on Obesity

The use of green space has been associated with higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of obesity within communities. Studies have suggested that ‘green exercise’ can have even more positive mental health benefits than other kinds of exercise.
Spending time outdoors is linked to positive effects on physical health, most notably obesity. Outdoor activities like taking walks around the park or neighborhood are recommended ways to get some fresh air.

Why to spend time in nature:
• Your vitamin D levels will rise: Vitamin D are created and activated by sunlight. Vitamin D benefits range from fighting against osteoporosis and heart attacks to cancer and depression.
• You’ll get more exercise: More exercise is linked to less weight issues. Staying outside more, means spending less time in front of the TV and the computer and more time doing things that keep you in motion.
• You’ll be happier: Physical activity helps people to relax and cheer up. Light elevates people’s mood, and there’s usually less light available inside than outside.
• Your concentration will improve: Outdoor activity is one of the keys that help in concentrating.
• You may heal faster: Nature has a direct effect on fast recovery, since it alleviates pain and stress.
• Your appetite will be regulated: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects your mood, appetite, memory, social behavior, and other processes and since oxygen levels are linked to serotonin levels, therefore breathing fresh air regulates the serotonin levels in the brain.
• Natural Light will normalize your sleep schedule: Melatonin is a hormone that controls your body’s internal clock (basically, it makes you sleepy). The melatonin-producing part of your brain (the pineal gland) is directly affected by access to light it remains inactive during the day and is switched on when darkness sets in. The right amount of melatonin ensures you have a good night’s sleep and wake feeling rejuvenated. Therefore, being exposed to sunlight can help you feel refreshed and relaxed by helping regulate your body’s melatonin production.
• Nature will lower your stress hormone levels: Spending time in nature can lower down the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
• Fresh air will improve your blood pressure: In polluted or indoor environments, the body has to work harder to get the oxygen it needs to function. This raises your heart rate and blood pressure.

It is worth to mention also that spending time in nature has also got many benefits for children:

• It relieves the symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD)
• It improves resistance to stress and depression
• It increases self-esteem
• It stimulates cognitive development and creativity
• It lowers child obesity
• It promotes happiness and health
• It leads to better results at school

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon



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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian