We can thank green spaces for a lot of different things—spending time among plants, grass, and trees has been scientifically proven to lower heart rates and stress levels, and green spaces help ward off air and noise pollution while blunting the force of climate change in cities. Spending time in green spaces during pregnancy may help produce a generation of smarter, healthier kids, too, according to a research team from Spain.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the habits of nearly 2,400 pregnant women and, after adjusting for other factors, found that women who spend more time in areas with plant cover give birth to babies with higher birth weights and head circumference.
The findings are important because larger head size relates to a larger brain and IQ scores years down the line. Reducing the number of babies born underweight can also cut back on children who wind up having heart disease, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance later in life, too.
Whether you're pregnant or not, spending a little part of each day surrounding by trees, plants, and flowers can help you get more exercise and stabilize your mood.
Here are 3 ways to get more nature into your life:
Take it outside. Whether it's the yoga you normally practice in the living room or dinner you usually eat in the kitchen, many of the things you do inside are easily transferable to the outdoors. Do your stretches on the lawn. Dine on your patio or porch and listen to the breezes and birds. Take your laptop outside and pay your bills online—and feel less stressed while managing your money.
Suggest moving meetings. If you feel caged by all the cubicles and conference rooms at work, ask your supervisor to hold one or two moving meetings a week. Getting outdoors and moving while at work can help you connect with nature, something that can spark more creative thinking.
Pick a park. If you want to go beyond a typical city green space, consider booking your next day trip or vacation at a state or national park. To take your pick, find out more at America's State Parks and read 6 Great National Parks You Never Visited.
Published on: May 21, 2013
Updated on: May 22, 2013