People who spend more time in nature are not only healthier, but also more energetic and productive. That’s the conclusion of a new study that found adults who spend more than 20 hours or more each week in a green or natural environment were 41% more productive on an average day than people who spend less than 30 minutes each week outdoors.
According to Study Finds, the study involving more than 2,000 adults also found that three-quarters of the participants say that spending time in green spaces makes them happy all day long, a feeling shared by 92% of those who spent the most time outside. Another 79% says including outdoor time in their day makes them feel healthier and more energetic.
The study was commissioned by the Greener Communities Fund, a partnership between Hubbub, National Health Services (NHS) Charities Together, and Starbucks. Study participants also said they had a clearer mind (44%), slept more soundly (28%), and felt less stressed (38%) after being outdoors. People who spent more time indoors reported feeling sluggish (37%), tired (27%), and isolated (16%).
“People not only feel better when they visit outdoor spaces, they work and play better too. As well as helping us connect with the natural world, outdoor experiences provide a much-needed change to decompress — and can make a huge difference to our overall health,” said Louise McCathie, director of fundraising for NHS Charities Together.
Aside from feeling healthier, the study participants also said they adopted healthier habits such as eating more plant-based foods (18%), choosing to walk or cycle instead of driving (31%), and recycling more (55%).
Over half (54%) of those surveyed said that they were more aware of environmental needs when they spent time outdoors, and 13% said they started picking up trash on their walks. Two-thirds said spending time outside made them more aware of their well-being, with 46% reporting feeling more relaxed and 42% being calmer and brighter.
One Poll carried out the study that revealed the best things people enjoy about being outside were fresh air (64%), the scenery (47%), and seeing animals and wildlife (46%). About 35% said they enjoyed seeing the seasons change and 11% said they loved being wrapped up in a warm coat.
People who didn’t spend a lot of time outside said that the lack of green spaces and parks in their area was a deterrent for one in 10. Another 19% said they didn’t have enough time to go outdoors and 8% said they didn’t feel safe. Of this group, 34% said having better access to an area of natural beauty would prompt them to spend more time outside.
“The more time we spend in nature, the more we all benefit,” said McCathie. “And its so important that everyone gets that chance.”
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