Whether you’re moving or not doesn’t matter: it’s the leaves and trees that do it.
Walking through a sunny warm breeze after a long day at the office can feel wonderful. And if you’re in a park, even better.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Occupational Therapy have found that spending 20 minutes in an urban park will make you happier. It doesn’t matter if you’re exercising, scratching the winning lottery ticket or eating fantastic ice cream while you’re at it. Simply being in contact with the natural environment is enough to help you de-stress and recovery from mental fatigue, scientists say.
“Overall, we found park visitors reported an improvement in emotional well-being after,” said Yuen.
“However, we did not find levels of physical activity are related to improved emotional well-being. Instead, we found time spent in the park is related to improved emotional well-being.”
Participants visited three urban parks: Overton, Jemison and Cahaba River Walk Parks all located in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Over 90 people took part, over six months.
While exercising in a park is always perhaps even better than just taking in the nature, the results are promising. For people who find it hard to engage in exercise due to physical limitations, they imply that health benefits can still be gained simply by getting outside among nature.
There are hundreds of urban parks located throughout cities in the United States. The largest is Chugach State Park, located in Anchorage, Alaska.