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.

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.

Managing your time in nature

More time in nature could bring more healing benefits.

Adding outdoor time to daily tasks:

  • For regular outings for shopping or other errands, can I add a half-hour stop for a walk in a park or natural area nearby? 
  • If I live close to shopping, work, school, places of worship, or other destinations, can I walk instead of drive some trips? If public transit is available and causes me to walk or wait in a safe natural area, can I use it sometimes instead of driving?
  • Are there any regular activities I can move outside as appropriate? 
    • Eating
    • Working
    • Reading
    • Visiting friends or family
    • Exercising

Finding new ways to be outdoors:

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

Resources

Keep reading about time in nature or forest bathing

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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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, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. 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 and Program Manager

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: May 31, 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.