Go Ahead. Get Dirty for your Health.

Go Ahead. Get Dirty for your Health.
Claudette Pelletier-Hannah

We can’t ignore the tragedy, but not everything about Covid-19 is bad. With limitations of what we can do indoors and with spring upon us, people everywhere are getting out of the house, in the garden and on the streets.

Apparently greenhouses and bike shops can’t keep up to demand. I love that we’re moving back to the simplicity of these wonderful activities and the benefits they bring.

Let’s talk about the outdoors. There is great healing that happens in nature, be it hanging out by a body of water or being in a forested environment. Research supports the benefits of Shinrin Yoku, or forest bathing, as it’s practiced in Japan. The idea is to quietly take in the forest with your senses. Blood pressure and stress are reduced and immunity is increased. It’s not hard to believe, is it?

Simply walking barefoot on the earth, called earthing or grounding, is also beneficial. The transfer of electrons from the earth to our bodies are said to help with sleep, reducing pain and a shift to the relaxation response.

We have the same body as ancient civilizations but we’ve become separate from our shrinking, natural environment. Our systems need contact with nature to be healthy. Vitamin D from sunshine is an obvious example.

When you step out to work in your garden, even if your garden is limited to pots on your balcony, know that putting your hands in the dirt is good for your gut biome. Go ahead. Get dirty!

Gardening can be a sensual and meditative experience. And there’s nothing like the reward that comes from growing your own food. It just never gets old. Of course all of that bending and squatting is good for your bottom too.

Edmonton has over 160 kilometers of maintained, multi-use trails. From what I can tell they are being better utilized than ever before. Whether you’re walking the neighbourhood streets or the nature trails, running or cycling, you’re getting the benefits of exercise and being outdoors too. Good on you.

As much as I’ve been missing the gym, it might be hard to go back.