We’ve all heard stories about how being outdoors can help provide benefits to our general well-being. But a recent study, featured on CNN, has shown that getting outdoors doesn’t just improve general well-being, but can actually reduce our need for some medications.
The study was published recently in BMJ Journals -Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Researchers analyzed the impact of getting outdoors in blue and green spaces and found that it reduced the use of anti-hypertensive, psychotropic, and asthma medications for those people living in urban environments.
Think about how stressful it must be living in the urban jungle: Car horns honking constantly, the roar and stench of diesel and gasoline automobile exhaust, the echo of city noises bouncing off all the hard surfaces, and nary a green tree, patch of grass to be found. It’s really no surprise that living in urban areas can adversely affect human well-being.
But this recently published study showed that simply getting outdoors is what made the difference in the use of certain medications that help us to cope (psychotropics), help us to lower our blood pressure (anti-hypertensive), or help us to breath (asthma).
For those of us who have had dogs in our lives, we know how going for a walk in the park with our four-legged friends can help us to feel better, reduce our stress, and generally improve our own mental health. Depending upon one’s pace and distance, we may also get the heart pumping for long enough that it helps our physical health, too.
But it seems that the simple act of getting outdoors into green spaces can help us reduce our needs for some medications has now been proven to be true as well.
Modern medicines certainly can be helpful in managing so many diseases and ailments. But do you ever think about the pills we are all taking on a daily basis? Americans have some of the world’s highest rates of addiction and drug (medication) use.
One of the tenets of The Way of the Crazy Dog, tenet #4, is to Play Everyday. Perhaps you should grab the leash and take your four-legged friend out for a walk in some green spaces and consider the benefits of getting outdoors. Your dog will certainly appreciate the opportunity to get out with you for a walk and you may reap the benefits of working to improve your own well-being.
PS. We are NOT doctors and we don’t play them on TV! Consult with your physician about your medication and drug use and the possible benefits of physical and outdoor activities.
Note: The photo of the yellow lab, a very muddy doggie, is courtesy of Helena Lopes: https://www.pexels.com/photo/cute-dog-running-on-dry-ground-4731091/