Your Phone Can Help You Tune Into Nature ?

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Chart new territory.

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Hiking is one of the best nature-based activities for the mind, body and spirit. And sometimes, veering off the beaten path and making one of your own can help you connect with Mother Nature on an even deeper level. GPS technology — accessible to the masses now, in the form of watches and handheld devices — can help you do this while staying safe.

Global positioning systems can do just about anything these days. From the basics of reading information from the 30 satellites orbiting the Earth to coming equipped with touchscreen surfaces and geotagging cameras, handheld GPS systems from companies like Garmin, Magellan, DeLorme and Rand McNally can be an adventurer’s best friend. With a little sense of direction, you can quell your worries and just enjoy being in the moment, exploring the natural space that lies ahead.

Ditch the treadmill.

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There’s no need to feel restricted to cardio machines in your neighborhood gym with such a wide selection of fitness apps available on your smartphone (yes, we’re encouraging you to use your phone this time). Whether you’re focused on calories burned, steps taken or overall pace, there’s a program to take those details off your mind and let you enjoy your activity in the present moment.

Apps like Argus, Fitocracy, MapMyFitness and Moves have tracking and analytics features that can help even the biggest gym rat step outside and work up a sweat while immersed in Mother Nature. Many of these apps also allow you to explore local running trails and routes other people have mapped beforehand. You’ll feel far more revitalized surrounded by green and breathing in fresh air, than contained within a gym’s four walls.

See also: The Surprising Health Benefits Of Going Barefoot

But what if you can’t ditch the office?

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This is meta — it is possible to use technology to channel nature to combat the health effects of too much tech use. Use your computer screen to help you test out the 20-20-20 rule, advice originally given to tech blogger Amit Agarwal by his doctor to combat eyestrain. Every 20 minutes, open one of your favorite natural images on your monitor — a beach, an open field, a mountain peak, you name it. Slide your chair back 20 feet (or as far as reasonably possible in your office setup) and simply gaze at the image for 20 seconds without distraction. Not only will your eyes thank you, but you’ll be reminded of the world that’s waiting for you outside of your office.

And if you’re feeling particularly impulsive with your decision-making — ready to send a hasty email or pounce on an online sale — take a moment first to mentally check out by looking at a natural image on your computer screen. A new study from researchers at Utah State University found that it may help provide an increased sense of self-control, Fast Company reported.

Source | HuffingtonPost