This Fourth of July holiday may be an even happier occasion if you spend at least some of it recreating in nature, such as at a park, beach, or forest preserve.
According to a recent U.K. study published in Science Reports, people who spent at least 120 minutes each week in nature were likelier to self-report good health and a higher sense of well-being. The study specifically asked people to report on time they spent outdoors, not related to running errands or working in the garden. This research invites further study to investigate whether the benefits of having contact with nature are derived from physical activity (the Moving Your Body that is often associated with being in the great outdoors) or if simply sitting in a natural environment is beneficial in itself. It also suggests further study is needed into the question of whether healthier people spend more time in nature in the first place (and so would report good health) as opposed to those who are not in good health.
In the meantime, need some ideas for communing with nature during this summer holiday? Consider:
- picnicking at the park or the beach
- sketching or photographing local flora
- bird / cloud / wave watching
- reading outside on a bench or blanket
- listening to Mother Nature’s “music”
- star gazing