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1 year ago
The City Girl's Guide to Nature

For the more than 80 percent of Americans who now live in metropolitan areas, hitting the great outdoors may seem implausible, if not impossible. It's not. Sure, urban dwellers can't always step out their front door and into a park, but they can still reap the benefits of fresher air.



Find the nearest green space
Seek and ye shall find. Per the Trust for Public Land's annual survey of 40 major U.S. cities, a huge amount of urbanites live within half a mile of a park (98 percent of San Franciscans, 96 percent of New Yorkers, and so on). That's great news, considering people who live less than a mile from green space have lower risks for health problems like heart disease and anxiety.


Read up on local activities
Check your local Parks and Recreation Department site for maps and activities. Most cities offer at least some free outdoor activities, such as tennis, birding, boating, or horseback riding.


Get to know the terrain
Turn to the mighty Google Maps. It can now suggest walking paths near you and suss out local cycling routes to, through, or from any park.


Inhale. Exhale.
Once in a park, bathe your lungs in fresher air by breathing more deeply. Trees and plants strip toxins from the air while releasing oxygen back into the environment.


Don't give up on finding greenery
Can't find a park near you? Try to locate a garden—either a city-run botanical one or an arboretum, both of which typically offer nature-related workshops.


Dig in
Commune with nature and your neighbors by joining your closest community garden. Find yours at (Bonus: Some studies show gardening can reduce stress and improve mood. It can also burn up to 300 calories an hour!)


Find a place to plant
If all else fails, ask your landlord if you can start a rooftop garden or put plants and flowerpots on your fire escape to lend new meaning to the term urban jungle.


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