The majority of U.S. adults spend less than five hours per week outside, according to the “Nature of Americans” research study, which surveyed the behavior of 12,000 individuals.
The most commonly cited reasons include:
- The places where they work, live and go to school generally do not encourage contact with the natural world.
- A myriad of competing priorities and activities push experiences in nature to the side.
The results of this study are concerning because spending time in nature improves mood, focus, creativity and wellness-related body metrics.
In fact, researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Arab Emirates collected data from 20 countries to see how exposure to green spaces affects our overall health.
The University of East Anglia’s research study proved spending time in outdoor green spaces, defined as “open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban greenspaces, parks and street greenery,” has significant long-term health benefits.
The comprehensive study, which included more than 290 million people worldwide, found that, “Spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and increases sleep duration. People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress.”
Landscape architects can make green space accessible to all Americans by turning city right-of-ways, gardens and parks into safe, productive and rejuvenating spaces.