Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. Thank you for joining us. We are talking today about the benefits of being outside and joining me today is Dr Beth Milligan, one of our doctors here on staff at AFMC. How are you?

Dr. Beth Milligan: I’m doing really well.

MR: Good. Well, so we are, now is the season everyone looks forward to the summer season and being outside. Yes, we’ve been cooped up inside for too long. So, let’s talk about some of the benefits, maybe first of all of just gardening. And being outside and having your hands in the dirt and producing vegetables or trying to.

BM: That’s a very good question. I actually was out in my garden checking on it before I came today, and I just pulled two ticks off the back of my neck while I was doing it. True story. You know, being outside is just in the nature, it’s just very magical. There’s something about it that I don’t know that we can always figure out. But there’s actually been studies that have shown that people who spend more time outdoors and in nature have better health than those that stay inside all the time.

MR: I believe it. The fresh air, the natural vitamin D. Just that connection with the earth. That makes sense.

BM: You know, people are more active when you’re outside usually. So, if you’re gardening, you’re out working in the garden. So, you’re getting the benefits of the physical activity that you wouldn’t normally get. So, there’s advantages to that because you’re just more active. And they’ve also found that you tend to be more mentally sound, you’re more at peace than you normally would be. And you’re probably thinking more about the moment that you’re in. So, it’s a lot better on things like blood pressure and even diabetics have been found to have much better health when they spend more time. Things like guarding me okay.

MR: And I would think too your nurturing, and there kind of with that comes a sense of purpose.

BM: Absolutely. And as I said, you tend to, it’s more of a calming focus. So, you’re not thinking about being hurried or all the things that keep us stressed out in the daytime we actually stop and we work on that particular plant for me, it’s pulling the weeds around the plants, but that’s exercise, which I normally wouldn’t get if I was sitting in my garden. And nothing like pulling those weeds. That’s very cathartic. It’s a good thing. So, in keeping with even ways to reduce the stress and keep folks in a good mood, I would think the benefits of having a pet might be very similar.

BM: Absolutely. You know, pet therapy has been studied. There’s hard proof science that says that having a pet and makes you feel better, it’s particularly because you have to get up and walk them outside if you’ve got a dog or a cat take care of them. That activity of nurturing one thing, but also the activity of just keeping your pet active, it helps you because it motivates you to get up and go outside.

MR: What do you say to the people who say but I live in Arkansas, it’s so hot and the humidity is so bad.

BM: That’s a good question. Sometimes I think that myself, but there’s some tricks you can do Michelle, some is to just to get out earlier in the morning if you can and your schedule permits it. You just get out earlier before the sun is sitting right above you, which is usually around noon. So, most of this that people will advise you earlier in the morning, if not later in the evening, but try to avoid when that sun is just straight up in the air. Second of all, probably just wearing the right clothing if you go out, you know, know to have the right brim hat on. I usually wearing a big hat that covers my face, so I don’t get that direct sunlight. There’s other tricks, you know, looser clothing so that you can sweat properly underneath those clothes.

MR: Have you heard anything along the lines? I’ve heard sometimes it’s recommended that you take your shoes and socks off and you just get your feet in the grass. Something about that grounding.

BM: Yeah, and there’s a lot of science behind that now. Be careful because you’re in Arkansas you might put your foot on a snake. But look where look where if your snakes and ticks, you know, look where you’re putting it. But yes, sure it’s walking out if you’re aware where you’re walking, so you don’t step on the rock if you’re diabetic and things like that. But putting your feet in the sand or in the grass is not a bad thing for if you know where you’re walking.

MR: Is there a recommended amount of sunlight that we should aim to try to get?

BM: I looked that up and to get a solid answer. They go anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes. So, if the sun is directly up, then you need to be careful and be aware that you’re going to need to wear sunblock. But I would say anywhere 15 to 20 minutes is probably not a bad time to get exposed to the outdoors.

MR: Okay. Nothing more magical than a beautiful sunrise.

BM: Absolutely, I agree with you completely.

MR: Yes. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

BM: I just say get outside, you know, it’s such a good medicine, you might say, just go out. The feeling you get, we’ll just take away any stress that you’ve dealt with during the day.

MR: It does it’s breathing in that fresh air, even if it’s humid air, breathing it in.

BM: It’s moist, it’s good for you for a short period of time.

MR: Okay. Dr beth thank you so much for joining us.