A peaceful walk or a break of at least twenty minutes a day in an outdoor area, in contact with nature and free of computer screens, significantly reduces the amount of stress hormones in a person’s body. It may seem obvious, but now that the effect is quantified, it can be prescribed.
How do they know this?
In an eight-week experiment, the levels of cortisol —the stress hormone— were monitored before and after participants took “doses” of nature for at least ten minutes three times a week. The participants chose the time and place of this encounter with nature, but they had to avoid aerobic exercise, the use of their cell phones, and reading. The controls were performed every two weeks.
After analyzing the concentration of cortisone in the participants’ saliva, the researchers could determine that twenty ¬–or ideally thirty– minutes a day of contact with nature was enough to significantly reduce the levels of this hormone without the need for medicine.