Outdoor Updates: New Jersey Beach Recycles Christmas Trees

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Ocean County, New Jersey asks public to recycle used Christmas trees to help local beaches

On January 4, Ocean County, New Jersey residents can put their old Christmas trees to good use. Old Christmas trees will be collected on Island Beach and they will be used to build up the dunes on the beach. Trees will be accepted in the A-23 parking lot between 10am and 2pm on January 4. Officials ask that you remove all decorations from the tree before recycling it. 

Canadian researchers find nature helps anxiety among cancer survivors

Canadian researchers studying how nature impacts cancer survivors have found that spending time outdoors reduces their levels of anxiety. In a small study, cancer survivors met twice a week to hike. Afterwards, researchers found that participants reported that hiking made them feel stronger and their levels of stress declined. 

The cancer survivors partaking in the study reported that they would not have felt the same drop in stress levels if they were taking a walk in the city; nature made them feel peaceful. The study also found that group hikes provided survivors with emotional support. “Having cancer is isolating,” said one of the participants in the study. “Even though you’re surrounded by people who want to help, it is nice to be with those who know what it is like, who understand.” 

Research finds that yoga enhances brain structure

Good news for all of the yogis out there. A review of studies published in the journal Brain Plasticity finds that yoga enhances brain function and can actually change the structure of the brain in positive ways. 

Researchers compiled data from 11 studies of participants of Hatha yoga and found that participants had more gray matter in their brain, which has been linked to better mental function, especially during aging. The takeaway from the study is that it’s not just high-intensity aerobic exercise that can have positive effects on brain function; low-impact exercise such as yoga can also benefit. 

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