Dozens of peer-reviewed studies show that being outside quietly in nature lowers blood pressure, cortisol levels, heart rate and stress for days, not just momentarily. This is part of the medical field of EcoMedicine. EcoMedicine maintains that your personal medical health and the health of your environment are two sides of the same coin. As you use nature to lower your blood pressure, assuage your anxiety, prevent and treat myopia, for example, you can also improve your surroundings, and make progress against climate change.
Even viewing plants has been shown to alter EEG recordings and has reduced blood pressure, pulse rate and muscle tension. This works, by the way, in office settings, and in medical office waiting rooms.
I don’t know why it isn’t standard practice to have pictures or posters of nature in medical settings. Indoor nature exposure and its positive health effects is extensively documented.
And again, a number of studies of dogs, cats and horses have shown reduced blood pressure, better physical activity and improved mortality among people with heart disease.
How it works: Just five minutes of exposure to images of greenery and blue/water space, whether grass, ocean, meadows or trees, boosts good-for-you parasympathetic nervous activity and lowers heart rate. And animals have physiologic effects covered previously.
Try: Look at greenery and peaceful scenes of water: if you can’t get outside, try nature pictures, like these of the ocean coast and beach.
Exercise outside, both resistance training and aerobics, can lower blood pressure, and improves mood, self-esteem and immunity more effectively than indoor exercise. Give a nature poster of a forest to your doctor.
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