Can a Hike a Day Keep the Doctor Away? by Tiara Chapman 

Photo: Anton Atanasov/Pexels

Tag Archive: Nature and Health Alliance

  1. Can a Hike a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

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    Ask the average Texan about their day and you may get an earful. Running from work to school to home with only a few hours until you have to do it all over again can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health. Eight out of ten Americans report feeling stress like this at least once every two weeks. Over time, chronic stress can manifest into heart disease, which is the #1 killer of Texans every year. If these statistics are stressing you out, then take a hike! Spending time in nature may be a simple, effective way to reduce stress and improve health and we are building the science to prove it.

    An illustration of people playing in a park. At the top there is text reading "Nature and Health: Parks and natural areas can be a great place to go for a walk, run, or spin. In addition to providing fitness benefits, green spaces can help your health in a variety of other ways." Credit: Sunghee Kim, Columbia Climate School
    Credit: Sunghee Kim, Columbia Climate School

    The Center for Health & Nature (CHN), a collaboration between Houston Methodist, the Texas A&M University System, and Texan by Nature, pioneers research on how nature benefits our health. Their research aims to produce programs that can be used alongside traditional therapies, promoting recovery and disease prevention. By integrating these nature-based interventions into healthcare settings and everyday life, we can revolutionize approaches to health and wellness.

    Complementing the efforts of the Center for Health & Nature is the Nature and Health Alliance (NHA), a nationwide network of researchers, practitioners, and advocates, seeking to promote the relationship between nature and health. The Alliance focuses on advancing the understanding of the relationship between nature and health by fostering research collaborations, promoting policy changes, and nurturing future researchers and practitioners. The Alliance seeks to build a robust framework that raises awareness about the health benefits of engaging with nature while encouraging reciprocal actions between humans and the environment.


    Woman Jumping Wearing Green Backpack in the forest Credit: Sebastian Voortman/pexels
    Photo: Sebastian Voortman/pexels

    Check out some of the groundbreaking work coming from the Center for Health & Nature and the Nature Health Alliance so far!

    • Schoolyard Physical Activity and Social Interaction: Is it easier to make friends during recess? Using the System for Observing Outdoor Play Environments in Neighborhood Schools researchers at the NHA examined how outdoor play environments in schools impact children’s physical activity and social interactions.
    • Nature at work: Did you know having nature contact in everyday life is associated with lower levels of anxiety? This study by Nature and Health Alliance Members found that visits to a greenspace in the workplace led to reduced anxiety.
    • Green Parks and Health: Do you need to carve out time for a 3-mile hike at the local state park or is sitting in the neighborhood pocket prairie enough to reap the health benefits of nature? This CHN study shows how walking in green parks boosts immune systems and improves mental health, featuring perspectives from NHA active vice-chairs  Drs. Jen Robert and Jay Maddock.
    Two people in a park Photo: Rollz International/Pexels
    Photo: Rollz International/Pexels

    Texan by Nature’s vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world. By integrating nature into your daily life, not only are you giving a positive boost to your health, you are bringing us one step closer to achieving our mission of uniting all Texans in conservation action. Together, we can ensure every Texan enjoys the great outdoors and all its health benefits. 

    Join the conservation and become a member of the Nature and Health Alliance or share an executive brief from the Center for Nature & Health so we can spread their message far and wide!