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Why Spending Time in Nature Heals

Updated: Feb 15, 2019


“Walking is man’s best medicine” (Hippocrates, 1817).


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of illness and death in the United States.  CVD’s risk factors include preventable lifestyle strategies such as walking in nature that reduce one’s susceptibility to the pathogenesis of heart disease.   Spending time in nature as well as living within close proximity to green spaces have been shown to decrease blood pressure, decrease anxiety, decrease physiological indicators of inflammation and stress, and increase cognitive function and the immune system, which are co-factors that contribute to CVD.  Integrative approaches to managing CVD such as spending time in nature inhibits the production of chronic pro-inflammatory biomarkers, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tissue necrosis factor-alpha.   The purpose of the research paper will be to examine the relationship between spending time in nature as a preventative and prescriptive treatment plan for patients who suffer from CVD as a way to decrease inflammatory pathways that lead to cardiovascular disease.

Benefits of Walking to Reduce Cardiac Biomarkers of Inflammation


Benefits of Walking to Reduce Cardiac Biomarkers of Inflammation

Chronic exposure to the risk factors of CVD, (sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, unremitting stress, etc.) initiates an immune response that propagates chronic systemic inflammation. “Inflammaging” defined as, “low-grade chronic systemic inflammation established during physiological aging” (de Araujo, Silva, Fernandez, 2013, para 1) and concurrent CVD risk factors is due to the desynchronized hyper-production of the proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin – 6 (IL-6), tissue necrosis factor –alpha (TNF-α), and C-reactive protein (CRP), with a concurrent reduction in anti-inflammatory IL-10 production (Ferrucci & Fabbri, 2018). The increased levels of chronic pro-inflammatory biomarkers predispose a person to chronic conditions that include CVD and precipitous death (de Araujo, Silva, 2013).



References



de Araújo, A. L., Silva, L. C., Juliana Ruiz Fernandes, J. R., & Gil Benard, G. (2013). Can Exercise Be an Immunotherapy? Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/809935_7


Hippocrates (1817). The aphorisms of Hippocrates. New York: Collins & Company.





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Kim Allen

Nature Institute of Integrative and Functional Medicine

Integrative Medicine and Health Coaching

Natureinstituteifm@gmail.com

kim@natureinstituteifm.org

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