In 2019, Frontiers in Psychology published "Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers" about the effects of nature in the city on reducing stress levels.
This is the first study of its kind in which data was measured throughout the study, and for the first time, study participants were free to choose the time of day, duration and location of the experiment according to their personal preferences and changes in their daily schedules. Pretty cool, huh?
Well, during the 8-week study period, 36 urban residents were asked to spend time outdoors at least three times a week for 10 minutes or more. The main condition was that the walk bring a sense of contact with nature (e.g., in a park or square). There were only a few conditions to minimize factors known to influence stress: walk in daylight, no aerobic exercise and avoid social media.
The findings showed that a 20-minute walk in nature was enough to significantly lower cortisol levels. But if the subject spent a little more time in nature, 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking, cortisol levels dropped at the greatest rate. And for walks longer than 30 minutes, the study found that stress-reducing factors were also present, but had less of an impact, and the type of activity had no effect on the cortisol response.
So, guys, let’s keep calm and go for a walk.
Source: MaryCarol R. Hunter, Brenda W. Gillespie, Sophie Yu-Pu Chen. Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology, 2019.