Spending just 20 minutes a day in the park is enough to significantly boost vitality and energy levels, researchers have found.
Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive and could be important for mental and physical health, studies have shown.
A series of experiments conducted on college students in America has shown that the boost in wellbeing comes from being outside, rather than the effect of physical exercise or socialising with others.
Just 20 minutes outdoors can have a better pick-me-up effect than a cup of coffee, according to psychologists.
Even without doing any physical activity, people become more energised in the open air.
A bond between the human body and the natural world makes us ‘feel more alive’, psychology professor Richard Ryan said.
The researcher from the University of Rochester, New York state, added: ‘Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but this suggests a better way to get energised is to connect with nature.’
His team conducted five experiments on 537 student volunteers, exposing them to a variety of active and sedentary situations inside and outside.
Their energy levels and moods were measured throughout the day and they were also told to imagine themselves in different surroundings.
The results, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, showed a massive increase in vitality after 20 minutes outdoors, and they felt more energetic just by imagining themselves being in the fresh air.