Navigation Links
Spending time in nature makes people feel more alive, study shows

Feeling sluggish? The solution may require getting outside the box that big brick-and-mortar box called a building.

Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive, finds a series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. And that sense of increased vitality exists above and beyond the energizing effects of physical activity and social interaction that are often associated with our forays into the natural world, the studies show.

"Nature is fuel for the soul, " says Richard Ryan, lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. "Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature," he says.

The findings, adds Ryan, are important for both mental and physical health. "Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don't just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings," says Ryan.

In recent years, numerous experimental psychology studies have linked exposure to nature with increased energy and heightened sense of well-being. For example, research has shown that people on wilderness excursions report feeling more alive and that just recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health. Other studies suggest that the very presence of nature helps to ward off feelings of exhaustion and that 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities.

What is novel about this research, write the authors, is that it carefully tests whether this increased vitality associated with the outdoors is simply the feel-good spillover from physical activity and people-mixing often present in these situations. To tease out the effects of nature alone, the authors conducted five separate experiments, involving 537 college students in actual and imagined contexts. In one experiment, participants were led on a 15-minute walk through indoor hallways or along a tree-lined river path. In another, the undergraduates viewed photographic scenes of buildings or landscapes. A third experiment required students to imagine themselves in a variety of situations both active and sedentary, inside and out, and with and without others.

Two final experiments tracked participants' moods and energy levels throughout the day using diary entries. Over either four days or two weeks, students recorded their exercise, social interactions, time spent outside, and exposure to natural environments, including plants and windows.

Across all methodologies, individuals consistently felt more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in such situations. The findings were particularly robust, notes Ryan; being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels. Interestingly, in the last study, the presence of nature had an independent energizing effect above that of being outdoors. In other words, conclude the authors, being outdoors was vitalizing in large part because of the presence of nature.

The paper builds on earlier research by Ryan, Netta Weinstein, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and others showing that people are more caring and generous when exposed to nature. "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." These studies, concludes Ryan, underscore the importance of having access to parks and natural surroundings and of incorporating natural elements into our buildings through windows and indoor plants.


Contact: Susan Hagen
University of Rochester

Related medicine news :

1. AHIP Statement on New Health Spending Projections
2. Senate Restrictions on Flexible Spending Accounts Spur New Campaign
3. Save Flexible Spending Plans Applauds Amendment to Protect Flexible Spending Accounts
4. Bella Sante Spas in Boston Reports Online Spending Rise of 12 percent December 1 to December 17, 2009
5. Study shows health care spending spurs economic growth
6. National Study Reports Staggering Spending Increases Among Seniors With Chronic Conditions Through Original Medicare - Special Needs Plan Program Offers Solution For Those In Texas
7. SDI Reports: Pharmaceutical Promotion Spending Indicates Trend Toward Electronic and Online Promotion
8. Population health plays a bigger role in geographic differences in Medicare spending
9. The Who Designs Limited-Edition T-Shirt Exclusively for Hard Rocks Signature Series: Edition XXVII
10. Euthymics Bioscience Collaborates with GlobalSign and SafeNet to Provide an FDA Approved Electronic Signature Solution
11. Gene Signature May Point to Lung Cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Spending time in nature makes people feel more alive, study shows
(Date:11/30/2015)... PA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... An ... of life in the womb. "My last baby had high blood pressure due to ... for mothers to protect their babies from noise pollution as well as radio waves ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... two new additions to its industry-leading suite of automated breast density assessment ... North America (RSNA) meeting, November 29-December 4, 2015 (South Hall booth #2377). ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... one of the leading plastic surgery practices in Florida, is proud to announce ... consult for surgical innovations giant Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company. , ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... The successful filing ... pharmaceutical company. Because it is so important to this key industry segment, Regis Technologies ... your IND Filing” on December 4th at 11am EST. , Federal law does not ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... assets of DataTrade Solutions Inc., a Healthcare IT consulting, development and support company. ... programming and technical experience available within DataTrade to extend the services currently provided ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Cumberland Pharmaceuticals (CPIX), today announced that ... on December 3, 2015. TIME: 3:15p.m. ET ... ET LINK: --> DATE: ... --> --> ... are invited to ask the company questions in real-time - ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ) has signed a ... Hospitals Group, the largest hospital chain in India ... in the country. The MoU was signed by Dr. K. ... Kakkar , Varian,s India managing director, in ... , Varian intends to deploy its Access to Care program by ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and BOSTON , November 30, 2015 ... develop potential new medicines directed at up to 10 ... --> PFE ) to research and develop ... protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets across multiple therapeutic areas. ... drug discovery and development company and wholly-owned subsidiary of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: