A new study backs up the proverbial wisdom that a little fresh air and time spent communing with nature does a person a lot of good.
The study, published in this month's issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, suggests that spending a small window of time out in nature rejuvenates us, both mentally and physically. Treehugger has details on the study and analysis from its lead author, Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
The authors of this particular study wanted to find out the effects of nature alone, apart from other factors. So, they performed five experiments on 537 college students, including sending them on a 15 minute walk through either a hallway or a tree-lined path, showing scenes of cityscapes or landscapes, and imagining themselves in scenes either sedentary or active, inside or out and with or without others. Across the board, those participants who spent time or imagined themselves in natural settings consistently felt more energetic, and the final results are that if you spend just 20 minutes a day in nature, vitality levels will significantly rise.
"We have a natural connection with living things," says Ryan. "Nature is something within which we flourish, so having it be more a part of our lives is critical, especially when we live and work in built environments."\n
Makes sense. It's incredible how quickly my mood changes when I come up from an hour or so on the subway.