I’m a sucker for New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s just my personality, but I love the idea of a do-over — wiping the slate clean and trying to do better this time around. Near the top of my list, which is also on the list of many others, is getting more daily exercise and time outdoors.
However, not long after January started, I was beginning my workday particularly early and thought about putting off my walk until later. “No,” said my newly resolution-committed voice. “Just 30 minutes. Go!” That morning, I saw a beautiful pre-dawn sky full of stars and heard deer blowing in the fields nearby. I saw an opossum scurrying across the road and witnessed the day’s first hint of light, reminding me of author Eugene Peterson’s definition of sunrise — “when the spontaneous and the certain arrive at the same time.”
What is happening between the mind and body connection that so invigorates us with a walk outdoors? Nature, a science journal, shared research about a zebrafish’s brain and how, as soon it begins to swim and become active, its brain lights up, which we know to be true for all species. We need activity and when you add the outdoors to the equation, you have enhanced problem-solving capacity to boot. There are tons of other health benefits, both mental and physical, which you can read all about on Page 20.
In talking to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams recently, he called his exercise time outdoors his sanctuary. I couldn’t agree more. And the research confirms what we all intuitively know… nature is good medicine.
Sara Parker Pauley, Director
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