The Health Benefits of Enjoying Local Nature

The Health Benefits of Enjoying Local Nature

A quick walk outdoors or a few moments spent sitting in the sun can be a shortcut to feeling better quickly. In fact, time spent outside is so beneficial to our overall health that doctors are starting to give patients “nature prescriptions”, a specific amount of time the doctor instructs a patient to spend enjoying the outdoors. 

Studies are showing that outdoor activities can greatly improve both mental and physical health. According to a 2020 study, just 10 or 20 minutes walking or even just sitting in nature can benefit a person’s mental health and well-being. Enjoying nature can not only lift your spirits, but can also address and even prevent a wide array of health issues by reducing stress and increasing physical activity.

Looking for ways to spend more time outdoors? Michigan is home to many scenic spots that are perfect for outdoor adventures – sunny beaches, towering sand dunes and long trails along rivers and through forests. Many of these natural resources can be found right here in Holland. 

Here are some ways you can take advantage of Michigan nature near you. 

Picnic in the parks.

Ottawa County Parks offer amenities that cater to all ages, from playgrounds to disc golf courses. Head to a local park to take advantage of the covered picnic shelters, the outdoor grills and maybe even the sand volleyball courts. Don’t forget the picnic basket!

Hit the trails.

Holland is home to over 1,800 acres of parks and trails. Take a hike through the woods, over the sand dunes or along the local beaches. If you prefer biking, Holland has over 150 miles of bike trails with everything from paved paths to mountain biking trails. 

Make a splash. 

Spend the day enjoying the sun and surf on one of Holland’s local beaches or explore Michigan’s lakes or rivers via canoe or kayak. You can get out on the water by renting a boat, or dive under the waves to explore the many shipwrecks along the bottom of the Great Lakes. 

Enjoy the snow. 

Think you can only enjoy Michigan nature when it’s warm? Think again! Michigan has over 40 ski areas perfect for skiing and snowboarding. And if that’s not your speed, maybe give snowmobiling a try. 

Whether it’s a quick walk outside or a day at the beach, you can improve your mental and physical well-being by enjoying the great Michigan outdoors – all without having to travel far from home. 


Another important way to stay on track with your health is regular visits with a primary care physician (PCP). Establishing a good relationship with a PCP you trust is worth its weight in gold over your lifetime. Looking for a family medicine, internal medicine or pediatric physician for yourself or a family member? Call (616) 394-3200 to talk with our new patient coordinator for help finding one that best meets your needs.

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