The benefits to gut health of getting outside in nature.
Studies suggest many of us now spend a large percentage of our time indoors. Yet getting outside into greener surroundings - even just to the park or your back garden – can give your gut health a boost as well as your general health and wellbeing. Getting out into nature is deemed so important it’s been dubbed ‘vitamin N’. Here’s why you might want to think about topping up yours:
Stress reduction: Spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting has been found to make us feel happier and reduce mental and physical stress. Good news for stress-related digestive issues.
Exercise: While even just sitting in nature has been found to reduce stress, the chances are you’ll probably be doing at least some gentle exercise, such as walking, while you’re there. As well as being good for your health, being more active is also likely to be good for your gut health.
Improves sleep: Getting outdoors a little every day can also improve sleep (both directly, by being exposed to sunlight and indirectly, by being more active) which has knock-on benefits for gut health. ‘We need at least 15 to 20 minutes of daytime light exposure every day for optimal circadian rhythm,’ says Dr Mishkat Shehata, a GP and certified lifestyle physician at The Lifestyle Clinic. ‘Any less and it might disrupt your sleep.’
So whether you head into your garden, the local park or the woods – it’s worth packing yourself a gut-friendly picnic and getting outdoors.
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