Nature & Stress: How Much Time Should You Spend Outdoors
Everyone knows that spending time in nature makes you feel good. In 2019, scientists studied how long and how often we need to be in places like forests or parks to lower our everyday stress. Another thing that might help you to reduce stress is to try out Ivibet Canada.
Walking in nature makes it easy to relax and forget your worries. Most people can’t go on long walks all the time, but the good news is that even a short time in nature helps a lot. It is about having time for yourself. A bit of the day that helps you to calm down and let go of the stress of the day. That does not mean you had a stressful day just not enough time for yourself.
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How Long Should You Spend Outside?
In 2019, researchers at the University of Michigan wanted to know exactly how much time in nature you need to feel less stressed. “We know being in nature reduces stress,” said study leader MaryCarol Hunter. “But we didn’t know how long or how often you should do it, or what kind of nature time is best.”
The study looked at cortisol, a stress hormone, and alpha-amylase, an enzyme that goes up when you’re stressed. High levels of stress and cortisol can weaken your immune system and cause problems like heart disease, depression, and weight gain. However, stress is still an underestimated threat to our health. So take this advice to improve your daily life and health, especially during winter.
Turn Off Your Phone To Reduce Stress
The study results were published in the journal “Frontiers in Psychology.” For their investigation, the researchers encouraged 36 participants, including 33 women, to have regular nature experiences – at least three walks per week, each lasting at least ten minutes.
Another condition was to eliminate some stress factors in advance: According to Hunter, the walk in the green should take place in daylight and without physical exercise. The volunteers had to avoid the internet, social media, conversations, and reading and were not allowed to use their mobile phones. However, the subjects were free to decide on the day, duration, and location of the event.
The First 20-30 Minutes Are Key
Before and after their nature time, the participants gave saliva samples. The researchers measured their cortisol and alpha-amylase levels. They found that stress hormones dropped significantly after just 20 minutes in nature. The levels kept dropping for 30 minutes but not as quickly as in the first 20 minutes.
Alpha-amylase levels only changed if people sat still, like on a bench. So, the key is to spend a focused 20-30 minutes sitting or walking in nature, which is doable even after a busy day. For city dwellers, this can be a great way to balance the noise and rush of city life – if they can put down their phones and relax.
Forest Bathing: Japan’s Long-Standing Practice
The researchers admit that the small number of participants is not yet sufficient to investigate the effects under ten and over 30 minutes more precisely. Further studies are needed for a robust basis on which the “nature pill” could be prescribed. However, the study is not the first to show the positive effects of nature on our health: In 2019, a large-scale study from Denmark found that people who spend their childhood surrounded by forests, parks, or gardens have up to a 55 percent lower risk of developing a mental illness.
A Japanese study found that extensive forest walks increase the activity of our natural killer cells, thus strengthening the immune system. In Japan, people have long sworn by “Shirin-yoku,” or “forest bathing,” as an activity with therapeutic effects.
Now it is on you to try out this concept to reduce your stress level. Try to find a good spot to enjoy nature and have a walk to clear your mind.