The Call of Nature

Dr. Mark Lansdell

When I first decided to become a dentist, Guelph was an easy choice as the place to practice. Our city is surrounded by fantastic parks and trails and you can’t beat the proximity to the city while enjoying country living. Add to that the great people, the health-conscious environment, and the dedication to conservation …. it really was an easy decision to choose Guelph as the perfect place to live and work.

Because one of my passions is hiking, the conservation efforts in Guelph are very important to me – after all, I love hiking, and Rambo and I like some variety in our outdoor activities. And let’s face it – there is a certain serenity to be found in the woods – in addition to the health benefits of being outdoors and exercising.

Here are just some of the benefits you too could enjoy by spending more time in nature:

  • Stronger immune system – the chemicals plants use to defend against insects have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Lower blood pressure & less stress – just looking at trees in a forest reduces stress-related hormone levels. Interestingly these effects are lowered in urban centres.
  • Improved mood – in a mood survey, respondents experienced reduced levels of anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, and fatigue after spending time in a forest.
  • Increased ability to focus – a side effect of our busy lives is that our cognitive brains have very little downtime. Time spent in natural surroundings removes this pressure and gives that part of our brain a break.
  • Faster recovery from illness or surgery – walking is an essential way to keep your lungs strong and healthy, plus, even with just a view of nature, hospitalized patients recover faster than those who are looking at a blank wall or have no view at all.
  • More energy & better sleep … and who doesn’t want a little more of that in their lives?

We have some fantastic woodlands and walking trails around our beautiful city – The Arboretum at U of G, Hanlon Creek, and The Guelph Lake Conservation area are just a few of the wonderful places I love to explore. As the weather begins to warm and another great season for hiking will be soon upon us, perhaps I’ll see you while we all enjoy the benefits of being outdoors in nature.


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