Simply spending time in nature shows benefits both for body terrain factors linked to cancer and for reducing cancer risk. It may also help with symptoms common among people with cancer.

Affordability and access

Prescription required?

  • No

Where to access

Unless you’re deep in a heavily paved city environment, some access to nature is likely near your home. A yard, a beach, a city park, a meadow, a wooded area, or even a neighborhood with some trees and other plants—all can offer some exposure to nature. You don’t have to travel far to access the benefits of time in nature. You can even bring a bit of nature into your home through plants and animals.

Managing more time in nature

More time in nature could bring more healing benefits.

Consider adding outdoor time to daily tasks.

  • For regular outings for shopping or other errands, can you add a half-hour stop for a walk in a park or natural area nearby? 
  • If you live close to shopping, work, school, places of worship, or other destinations, can you walk instead of drive some trips? If public transit is available and causes you to walk or wait in a safe natural area, can you do so sometimes instead of driving?
  • Can you move any regular activities outside as appropriate?

Eating
Working
Reading

Visiting friends or family
Exercising

Finding new ways to be outdoors:

  • Can you create or increase time in a garden? If you don’t have your own yard, can you volunteer to help at a local park, community garden, or playground? 
  • If a dog might help you spend more time outside and it fits into your life, might you want one? If not, could you consider volunteering to walk dogs at a local animal shelter?
  • Can you join or create a group who will participate in regular outdoor activities together?
  • Could you learn more about the trees, animals, flowers, insects, snakes, birds, and other natural neighbors in your area? This will encourage engagement with local nature and make injuries and anxiety outdoors less likely. 

Affordability 

Although you can spend money on specific gear and travel for time in nature, you can choose your level of investment. A beach walk or hike on a wooded trail may cost nothing more than the transportation to get there, and a walk in your neighborhood could be completely free of expense.

Helpful links

Keep reading about time in nature or forest bathing

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher

Maria Williams

Research and Communications Consultant
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Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

Maria Williams Research and Communications Consultant

Reviewer

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: December 21, 2023

Last full literature review: April 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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