Rx: Vitamin N
One of my favourite news stories of all time talked about Janet Ady’s demonstration in 2009. At a gathering of the Children & Nature Network, Janet (from the US Fish and Wildlife Services) stood before a crowd and held up a pharmacy bottle inscribed with a physician’s prescription.
The prescription was as appropriate for adults as it was for children. What was it? A prescription for Vitamin N (Nature).
"Directions: Use daily, outdoors in nature. Go on a nature walk, watch birds and observe trees. Practice respectful outdoor behaviour in solitude or take with friends and family.
A powerful statement, and one that has stuck with me since I first learned of her demonstration. Here’s a quote from her speech:
“Here’s a cost-effective way to improve the health of children and adults. An expanding body of primarily correlative scientific evidence points in a single, common-sense direction: Getting children outside can be good for their health. And getting them outside in nature may well offer special benefits.”
Research shows that contact with nature significantly reduces symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children; gathering by a window can even reduce stress in children. In greener neighborhoods, children have lower body weight. Spending time outdoors may even prevent myopia (near-sightedness).
It’s true for adults too. Exercising outdoors has greater benefits than equal exertion from exercising indoors. The stress reduction we all need is literally a walk in nature away.
Living in this beautiful city, we have access to so much Vitamin N! A short walk away from the office takes you to a river, a beautiful park, or the ocean depending on where you are.
Walking meetings are a fantastic way to get in your Vitamin N. They’ve been popular with many successful business people, including the late Steve Jobs. Grab a co-worker, a tea, and get out there! The benefits will astound you.
Wishing you peace in nature.
Dr. Kali MacIsaac HBSc, ND