Nigro: We need nature for our own health – and nature needs us

This was posted more than 12 months ago. The information may be outdated.

By Sherry Nigro, Ottawa Citizen, May 10, 2018

One spring day last year, I took the dog for a walk in a woodlot near my home in Orléans, as I do most days. I heard a different sound, a low-pitched grunting, far different from the birds and distant traffic noise. Standing very still, I finally located it: an earth of foxes just 20 feet away! The vixen was talking to her kits as they explored and frolicked. I was fascinated, excited and felt joyful, and yes, happy. Such is just one of the positive effects of nature.

Finally, modern medicine is recognizing that time spent in natural environments has health benefits. Quantitative research is measuring physiologic effects including positive brain activity, lowering of muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure, reduced cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels and improved immune functioning. People who live in proximity to green space are more physically active.