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null Get Outside!

Get Outside!

For Immediate Release:  2020-06-10

Contact:  Peter Kates, (716) 857-4485

Whether it’s hiking at Panama Rocks, kayaking on Chautauqua Lake, or just taking a relaxing stroll around the block, being outdoors does the mind and body good.

“Contact with nature recharges the brain,” said Amanda Shanahan, RD, Employee Wellbeing Manager at Univera Healthcare. “Our brains are often over taxed with the everyday demands of life, but they don’t have to work the same way to pay attention to nature, which allows time for restoration.” Time spent outdoors can reduce stress and improve mood, creativity, and concentration.

There are other benefits to being outdoors.

Protecting your bones

Sunlight hitting the skin eventually leads to the creation of vitamin D in the body, which helps protect against osteoporosis and other diseases. Ten to 15 minutes in the sun a few times a week is all that is needed. If you’re going to be outside for a longer period, apply sunscreen.

Aging gracefully

Studies show that older adults who get outside every day and have contact with nature have fewer complaints of aches and pains, sleep issues, and other health-related problems.

Enjoy the outdoors with care

While you are busy enjoying the benefits of sunshine and fresh air, Shanahan reminds everyone that it is important to take steps to prevent diseases associated with being outdoors, including Lyme Disease and Skin Cancer. 

Lyme Disease

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2018, New York State had nearly 2,500 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease, an infectious bacterial disease transmitted by ticks. When caught early, Lyme Disease can be treated with antibiotics, but prevention is best. Tips to avoiding Lyme Disease include the following:  

  • Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. 
  • Use insect repellent. 
  • Check everyone for ticks when they return indoors, including pets, and quickly remove any that you find. 

Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The Skin Cancer Foundation and the CDC offer the following tips for reducing the risk for skin cancer:

  • Seek shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you feel you need relief from the sun.
  • When possible, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants or long skirts can provide protection from UV rays. 
  • For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that is wide enough to shade your face, ears, and the back of your neck. 
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays to reduce the risk of cataracts. Sunglasses also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days.

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Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. To learn more, visit

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