Two Septembers ago, a South Dakota snowstorm caught me off guard. I packed light — too light — for a trip to the Black Hills, to participate in the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival at Custer State Park. Huddled in the bed of a pickup truck in the middle of a thundering herd of buffalo, wearing every article of clothing I had and still cold all the way down in my bones, I swore I’d never be unprepared for the conditions again.
This winter, as the ongoing pandemic makes it unsafe to gather indoors, you may find yourself spending more…
Human beings are land animals. We have feet, not flippers. While our body needs water to survive, those needs don’t require that we submerge our heads in H2O.
You might think that diving into water, like peering over a cliff’s edge, would provide a little adrenaline rush. But it turns out that just the opposite is true. “Water submersion has some counterintuitive calming effects,” says Roly Russell, PhD, a researcher at the Sandhill Institute for Complexity and Sustainability and first author of a 2013 Annual Reviews paper on the health benefits of time spent in nature.
While cases of Covid-19 surge to new highs nationwide, responsible outdoor activities are being encouraged. From California to New York, states and cities are shutting down indoor dining (or keeping it closed) while allowing outdoor service and keeping beaches and parks open, too. Governors are coming around to the view that scientists have been espousing for months: The coronavirus transmits more easily indoors than outdoors.
“The risk is definitely lower outdoors,” says Kimberly Prather, PhD, an atmospheric chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “The primary reason is there’s just such a large volume of clean air.”
Back in 2008, a group of researchers at University of Michigan studied whether spending time in nature could improve a person’s cognitive performance. They tested the memory of 38 students, and then split them into two groups: one went for a 2.8-mile walk in an arboretum, while the other went for a 2.8-mile walk in the city. Upon their return to the lab, everyone in the study repeated the memory tests. …
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