Take a walk in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve – a globally rare, nationally significant, and locally distinct inland pine barrens, explore the unique and endangered natural communities and species, and take advantage of the health benefits.
Time Spent in Nature Provides Many Health Benefits
I am always telling people that nature is magical, and research has shown that being in nature has countless physical and mental health benefits. In fact, a 2020 study undertaken by Cornell University and the University of Maryland found that just 10 minutes a day in nature can have a positive impact on your health. Some of the health benefits of exposure to trees and green spaces noted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation include:
• Reducing stress
• Increasing energy level and focus
• Boosting the immune system
• Helping with healing and
• Improving mood and sleep
A study in the April 4, 2019, Frontiers of Psychology showed that being in nature reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases dopamine and endorphin levels, boosting your mood. Research has also found spending time in nature and looking at scenes of nature are associated with mindfulness and general well-being, and that exposure to nature can
reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and stress-related hormones. Even breathing in the airborne chemicals produced by plants—phytoncides—can help us fight off disease and infection by increasing our white blood cell levels. Those white blood cells can kill virus-infected cells in our body!
Whether it’s a visit to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, or stepping out into the backyard, nature can help us cope with anxiety, depression, and stress. Walking for just a few minutes in a green space during lunch can help you to concentrate and focus for the rest of the day. And getting outside to exercise helps to increase energy levels.
Education, Family Fun, Building, and Strengthening Community
Psychologists have found that being in nature helps us to value sharing, relationships, and community. Activities like sitting in your kitchen and watching birds at a feeder outside the window can help reduce stress and be a fun educational family activity, as you work together to learn the bird species. Or you can participate in community-powered science opportunities and contribute to scientific research at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Whether you live in the country, in the city, or somewhere in between; get outside, look out your window, explore your neighborhood.
Join us on August 22nd for our Connect with the Pine Bush program to slow down and fully experience this amazing ecosystem through in-depth observation and reflection to enjoy the wonders and healing benefits it holds and the power of nature!