How nature can help with stress, fatigue

ROANOKE, Va. – If you're feeling tired or stressed, the key to feeling better may be just outside your door.

Like a lot of us, Maura Costello has a busy family life and a stressful job. When she feels overwhelmed, she turns to nature for some relief.

"It gives me some peace. It gives me some quiet," said Costello. "And I don't think there is a better place to do that than in nature."

And Consumer Reports says you don't have to spend hours in the wilderness to benefit.

"One study shows that as little as 20 minutes in or near green spaces may help lower stress hormones," said Kevin Loria, Consumer Reports health editor. "And even something as simple as taking care of your potted plants could help reduce stress."

Some scientific reviews suggest your physical health can benefit, too, linking spending time outdoors to better sleep, reduced depression and reduced obesity.

"Scientists say that being in nature helps reduce your exposure to air pollution, noise pollution and heat -- all of which are linked to chronic disease," said Loria. 

In nature, you're also more likely to be physically active -- which can help lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular problems as well as improving mental health and brain function.

To get the most out of your time outside, Consumer Reports says leave the electronics behind and simply enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Consumer Reports says even if you're stuck in an office all day, there's evidence that just looking out a window or viewing nature scenes on your computer could be beneficial.

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