Go outside for your sanity! Spending 67 minutes outdoors refreshes mental health

By Chris Melore

As the weather heats up, Americans are united on one thing — it’s time to get out of the house! On average, people need to spend 67 minutes outside each day to feel refreshed, according to a new survey. The poll of 2,000 U.S. adults also uncovered that over half of Americans (57%) are looking to spend more time outdoors than ever before.

Conducted by Talker Research on behalf of RVshare, researchers found that the majority of those who spent time outside said it relaxes them (68%), puts them in a better mood (66%), and helps them clear their heads (64%). On the other hand, spending more time inside can lead to feelings of depression (38%), anxiousness (33%), and loneliness (32%), according to the research.

Nearly six in 10 (58%) will get stir-crazy after spending too much time inside, with the average threshold of indoor time being 10 and a half hours. Outdoor plans getting derailed due to cancellations or bad weather can also lead to bad feelings. Nearly half (48%) of the respondents feel disappointed when their outdoor plans change, while others are frustrated (32%) and annoyed (28%).

“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.”

Americans also revealed their favorite outdoor activities and said they enjoy them because they benefit their mental and physical health – 59 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Some of these include grilling or cooking outside (23%), hiking (14%), and camping (11%).

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It turns out that travel preferences are also shifting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Americans traveling to more places in nature (16%) and taking more trips that benefit their mental health (15%).

The poll also revealed that 67 percent of Americans view travel as a form of self-care, and four in 10 (42%) feel they need to book a trip to “escape” at least once every six months. One-third of Americans (33%) regularly book vacations around outdoor activities they enjoy and are the most excited about trips to the beach (44%), national park visits (29%), and cross-country driving (12%).

In fact, over half (57%) prefer to drive to their destination while on vacation rather than fly (25%). This could be due to the overwhelming belief (83%) that the journey to a destination is part of the vacation itself. Overall, five in six people say outdoor trips are having a positive impact on their lives.

Those who are vacationing in the great outdoors are seeing benefits to their mental health through reduced stress (36%), experiencing mental recharging (33%), and making them more grateful for the things they have (23%).

“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.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans was commissioned by RVshare between April 18 and April 23, 2024. It was conducted by market research company Talker Research, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society (MRS) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Source: Study Finds

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

Image: Pixabay

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