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THE LURE OF THE OUTDOORS HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING OUTSIDE
At last, we feel a sweet reprieve from the summer heat. During my drive home around 5 or 6 p.m., I still have moments of discomfort as the temperature peaks around 80 degrees. But by the time the sun starts going down, all is lovely and well. The temperature hits
performed 20 percent better. There’s just something healing and rejuvenating about nature. It’s embedded in our DNA. Being in the great outdoors also takes me back to my roots. My dad grew up on a farm, and I have a long history of relatives who grew up the same way. I guess you could say it’s in my blood.
As a lawyer, I spend a lot of time in the office, but when I’ve done my best work, there’s no greater reward than spending time without a roof over my head. I loved exploring the outdoors as a kid. That fondness for nature is something that followed me into adulthood. Why the lure of the outdoors? When you’re outside under the sky, walking in the fields or under the cover of trees, there’s nothing more liberating. It’s the cheapest and most natural form of mental medicine. Research says that being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress, and those are just the emotional benefits. They also say it helps you physically by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. Studies are even being undertaken to examine the link between time spent in nature and reduced mortality rates. I read an article recently about a University of Michigan study that explored spending time in nature versus spending time in cities. The study divided students into two groups and gave them a brief memory test. One group took a
Craig Hill, my law partner, grew up on a farm himself, and he continues to operate a cattle ranch outside of office hours. His kids will be the fifth generation raised on the ranch. I guess you could say it’s in his blood, as well. But ranching was never for me. My favorite outdoor activity by far is hunting. It isn’t uncommon for me to hunt for bobwhite quail, pheasants, and ruffed grouse during this season. I’ve even bagged a few wild turkeys and elk after Halloween. One of these years, I might go for a black bear tag. We’ll see. Closing the month with a holiday is a treat for both the kids and ourselves. There’s nothing like seeing the youngsters all decked out in their favorite costumes, as excited for their appearance as they are for the candy. Sitting on the porch in the cool October twilight dishing out sweets is more than enough enjoyment for me. Halloween is trivial in nature, but it has the good fortune of kicking off a more significant holiday season. In the coming months, we’ll have more reasons to celebrate and additional time with loved ones. I hope we don’t take it for granted. Personally, I can’t wait.
walk around an arboretum and the other took a walk around the city. When they returned and took the memory test
again, the students who walked among the trees and plants
–Cra ig Jon e s
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