Health & Wellness

Ticket to Better Health? Easy – a Walk in the Park!

The world of 21st century medicine can seem so high tech and complex.

Robotics, genetics, 4-D scans and pharmacological wonders are spilling out of today’s little black doctor bag. That’s why it’s ironic that more and more research seems to point back to the basics, to the mind/body connection that the ancient Eastern cultures innately understood.

We’re learning that a brighter, more positive outlook leads to a healthier immune system. That less stress means better health. That meditation and relaxation can lower blood pressure, improve sleep and even help prevent cancer.

And this just in from researchers at Stanford University: spending a short time out in nature, say, taking a walk in the park, can change your brain function and boost your mood. The findings were published by the National Academy of Sciences and showed how city dwellers and urbanites had an elevated risk of brooding (also called “morbid rumination”— hello Woody Allen!), which was correlated to depression. The study compared people who walked alone (no earbuds!) along a highway to those who walked a similar time and distance solo through a park. The study detected soothed brain changes in the park amblers.

This, of course, makes sense to most of us. But when was the last time you went for a leisurely stroll in one of our Lowcountry parks, or say, the Francis Marion National Forest?

If you need a reminder of the how-to basics, check out this tutorial from New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.

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