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Lifestyle Behavior Brain and Mental Performance Depression

Spending Time Outdoors Daily May Promote Mental Clarity

3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Posted on May 21, 2024, 2 p.m.

When the weather turns from cold and dreary to warm and cheery, most people enjoy spending as much time as they can outdoors basking in nature to unwind and recharge. How much time a person needs to be outside to feel revitalized varies, but according to a random double opt-in survey conducted by Talker Research (formerly OnePoll U.S.) on behalf of RVshare involving 2000 general population Americans, on average, people need to spend 67 minutes outside every day to feel refreshed, and 57% of the respondents plan to spend more time outside this year than they ever have.

The analysis revealed that of those who spend time outdoors, 68% of the respondents said that spending time outside relaxes them, 66% believe being outside places them in a better mood, and 64% find that spending time outdoors helps them clear their heads. Spending too much time indoors appears to have the opposite effect with 38% saying that too much time inside leads to feelings of depression, 33% have feelings of anxiousness, and 32% experience feelings of loneliness. 

58% of the respondents said that they go a little stir-crazy when they spend too much time indoors, on average they report their average threshold of time being inside for 10.5 hours before they feel too pent up. It’s not just being inside for too long that leads to feeling angsty either, when plans for outdoor adventure get canceled due to bad weather or another unforeseen reason it can also lead to bad moods, with 48% of the respondents feeling disappointed with their outdoor plans change, 32% feel frustrated when this happens, and 28% report feeling annoyed. 

“From enhanced mood to feelings of relaxation and well-being, there are so many physical and mental benefits that come from breaking through the four walls and exploring open-air adventures and activities,” says RVshare’s CEO Jon Gray in a statement. “During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we are encouraged to be mindful of how we’re spending our time and factor outdoor experiences into our everyday lives, including our travel plans.”

With there being so many possibilities for fun and adventure to be had while spending time outdoors, it’s no wonder that people are disappointed when their plans are unexpectedly changed. This research reveals that Americans have many outdoor hobbies and activities, and they share many of them in common, saying that they enjoy them for both mental (59%) and physical (58%) health benefits. For example, 23% reported enjoying grilling or cooking outside, 14% said that they love hiking outdoors in nature, and 11% said that they really enjoy camping and the experience that brings them. 

As a result of recent years' lockdowns and restrictions that were imposed upon us, it appears as if travel preferences have shifted, rather than traveling abroad 16% of the respondents are looking to visit more places in America where they can be immersed in nature, and 15% are taking more trips to benefit their mental health. 67% of the respondents now view travel as a form of self-care, and 42% feel that they need to have an escape at least once every six months to recharge. 

33% of the respondents book vacations around outdoor activities that are enjoyable, and 44% are most excited about beachside adventures, 29% are excited about excursions to national parks, and 12% want to explore cross-country driving. To that end, 57% would rather drive to their destination than fly, with 83% feeling that the journey to the destination is part of the vacation itself, compared to 25% preferring to fly.

83% say that outdoor trips are having a positive impact on their lives with 36% of those vacationing in the great outdoors experiencing benefits to their mental health through reduced stress, 33% report feelings of mental recharging, and 23% believe that spending more time in nature makes them feel more grateful for the things that they have. 

“A key takeaway here is that spending time in nature and on the open road while traveling has both physical and mental benefits,” says Gray. “Whether soaking up the Sun, hiking a new trail, or gazing up at the starry sky, we’ve all experienced the invaluable renewal, mental clarity, and freeness that comes from being outdoors.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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References/Sources/Materials provided by:

T.W. at WHN

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