Study: 20 to 30 minutes walking reduce stress
Taking at least 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature will significantly lower your stress hormone level, suggests study. "We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us," said Dr. Mary Carol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research.
"Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature," added Hunter in the study published in the journal, 'Frontiers in Psychology.' Nature pills could be a low-cost solution to reduce the negative health impacts stemming from growing urbanisation and indoor lifestyles dominated by screen viewing.
To assist healthcare practitioners looking for evidence-based guidelines on what exactly to dispense, Hunter and her colleagues designed an experiment that would give a realistic estimate of an effective dose. Over an 8-week period, participants were asked to take a nature pill with a duration of 10 minutes or more, at least 3 times a week. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were measured from saliva samples taken before and after a nature pill, once every two weeks.
"Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they've interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimise factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations, and reading," Hunter explained.