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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

October 9, 2018 - 8:00am -- Anonymous

The sights and sound of fall are all around us.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year to spend time outside absorbing in the warm sunshine and the beautiful colors.  I found an article that just really helped me to understand why being outside is such a benefit to us, both mentally and physically.  Here are the top points:

*We are fortunate to live in a rural community where there’s lots of green space.  However, it’s estimated that the average person in our world, spends 93% of their time indoors. (study by the EPA)

 *When is the last time you were really, consciously relaxed in nature? Leaving your phone or camera behind, and just allowed yourself to be absorbed in the park, forest or field.  What did you see, smell, and feel? The key is to allow your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet to bring you to a natural aromatherapy session.  Can you describe the sounds of the creek, or the smell of the trees?

*What you may experience is the “Phytoncides” or the substance that plants and trees give off, in other words, what we smell as “the forest”, “the field” or “the garden”.  The phytoncides are protectors for plants from harmful insects and germs.  They have been studied and found to benefit human health in the following ways:

- Reducing physical stress

- Lowering blood sugar

- Offering better concentration

- Helping to diminish pain

- Improving immunity

I don’t know about you, but now I understand why I feel so much better after talking a walk in the park or a ride in the woods.  When I allow myself to absorb the sights and sounds of the season, in this case autumn, I can feel some of the above benefits. 

The other factor that might be of interest is that there is actually “Nature deficit disorder” in children.  According to a study in 2008 with more than 60,000 people participating adult participation in outdoor activities has slightly increased but identified a decline of more than 11 % of our youth ages 6 to 17.  While the study might be a bit old, the message it sends is relevant, our children need to spend more time outside than inside.  Not just structured sporting events, but time to really enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

During this season, maybe you have a favorite place to go that reminds you of your past?  Share it with your family and truly appreciate the benefits of time outside together.  Visit an orchard, a pumpkin patch, a neighborhood park.  Just take time to sit, listen, and observe the beauty of the world we are privileged to live in.