SAN ANTONIO – If you're feeling stressed out, an easy and free way to feel better may be right outside your door.
A wealth of scientific evidence has found that stress hormones drop and health benefits rise after even small doses in green spaces.
"A study shows that as little as 20 minutes in or near green spaces may help lower stress hormones. Even something as simple as taking care of your potted plants could help reduce stress," said Consumer Reports health editor Kevin Loria.
Some scientific reviews suggest that your physical health can benefit, too. Spending time outdoors has been linked to better sleep, reduced depression and reduced obesity.
Among older adults, spending time in nature is associated with lower mortality from heatstroke, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
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How can something as simple as nature offer such big benefits?
"Scientists say that being in nature helps reduce your exposure to air pollution, noise pollution and heat, all of which are linked to chronic disease," Loria said.
In nature, you're also more likely to be physically active, which can help lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular problems, as well as improve mental health and brain function.
To get the most out of your time outside, leave the electronics behind and simply enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Even if you're stuck in an office all day, Consumer Reports said there's evidence that just looking out a window or viewing scenes of woods and meadows on your computer could be beneficial.