Can nature really be prescribed?
YES! And fortunately, more and more scientific studies are supporting the theory that nature can cure a list of ailments. Varying ailments including mental health with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and physical health with high blood pressure, obesity, and chronic pain.
These are not new findings. Hippocrates even said “walking is a man’s best medicine.” Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived at a time when most people attributed sickness to superstition and the wrath of the gods. His “Hippocratic Oath”, that doctors will do no harm to their patients, is still taken by doctors today.
In nature, you can enhance your use of all five senses on a leisure walk by slowing down your thoughts and being mindful. In addition to the improvement in your mind and body, your love for nature will grow as well. These mutually beneficial relationships will help to Protect and preserve our public lands.
So challenge yourself to your own personal prescription to nature and go Play! Try a few minutes each day, a short walk 3 times a week, or pick a day hike on a weekend. Consider inviting a friend or family to get a dose of healing with you.
And as always: Play. Protect. Preserve.
Follow Leave No Trace Principle 1: Plan Ahead and Prepare!
Trip planning helps ensure your safety, contributes to accomplishing your goals, and it increases self-confidence in nature.
Things to Consider When Planning a Trip
Identify your goals of your time outdoors.
Identify your skill and ability.
Gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit from park rangers, maps, and literature.
Choose equipment and clothing for comfort and safety.
Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities.
Think over your trip upon return. Note what went well first! Show some gratitude to yourself! Make note of when you will go again!