Effect of Spending Time Outdoors on Well-Being

October 25, 2021

Louis Tay

With the pandemic and the prolonged stay-at-home experience, many of us have acutely felt the need to be outdoors. During the summer, there was a record number of visitors to many national parks. The reopening of Yellowstone park had a roughly 10% increase in the number of visitors compared to 2019.

Perhaps people are wired with this intrinsic desire. Indeed, research shows that spending time outdoors with greenery helps with lowering stress and overall health.

Shannon Sturt A review of over 40 studies found that self-reported stress, blood pressure, and heart rate are lower when individuals spend time outside. Moreover, it appears that the most benefit is reaped when the individual is actively aware of being outside and appreciating their surroundings. This strongly suggests that being outdoors and in nature can help with improving our immediate well-being.

During stressful times, it is easy to turn inward and remain cooped up at home. However, it may be better to spend that time outdoors instead.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Take a stroll in the park
  • Plan a picnic with friends outdoors
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset

Be well,

Shannon Sturt and Louis Tay

Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week! 

Shannon Sturt is an undergraduate student at Purdue University in her 2nd year. She plans to complete a degree in Applied Statistics with minors in Management and Communications. 

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