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At least two decades of research confirms what might seem obvious for many residents of the Pacific Northwest: time in nature is good for you. It can lower blood pressure, alleviate depression and anxiety, and even reduce nearsightedness in children.
But how often should you interact with the natural world? Where? And for how long? Is gazing at the stars from your backyard enough to reap rewards?
According to the best available evidence, connecting with nature offers considerable promise in addressing a range of health challenges. Pooja S. Tandon, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital, assistant professor at the University of Washington, and active member of UW EarthLab’s Nature for Health initiative, and Kyle Yasuda, the 2018 president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics and co-founder of BestStart Washington, penned an opinion piece in the Seattle Times about how outdoor play is correlated with physical activity, improved motor skills, better vision and vitamin D levels — especially in children.Read more
Time spent in nature can reduce anxiety and help you sleep better at night, experts have found. It also offers promising benefits for a range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, depression and obesity.
But there are still many questions about how time in nature can help with these health conditions, and others. A new University of Washington initiative announced this week seeks to advance research on these questions, connecting academic researchers with pediatricians, childcare providers, mental health practitioners and others who work with various populations on critical health issues.
One fall day on Washington’s Mount Rainier, Josh Brandon and a group of fellow active duty platoon leaders discovered something about the outdoors that could improve the lives of veterans.
It was September 2009 and the group had decided to make a late-season summit attempt of Washington’s highest peak as part of a team-building exercise. The platoon leaders, who were all members of the same infantry company, began their climb in the early morning hours.