Spending time in nature, whether while traveling, or in your backyard, is beneficial for one’s physical and mental well-being. Research shows that the benefits of being in green space start accruing at just 120 minutes per week.
Furthermore, this can be all at once, in one two-hour block, or broken up into shorter amounts of time. Regardless of where or how the time in nature was spent, all of the participants in the study reported improved well-being overall.
It is becoming increasingly apparent how imperative time outdoors reduces stress and providing somewhat of an escape during our current situation. In Iceland, the forestry service is encouraging people to hug a tree for five minutes, hoping that it will help with the challenges of social distancing and isolation.
In Austria, planners are designing parks that allow people to enjoy nature while making it easier to maintain a safe physical distance from each other. The park, inspired by a fingerprint, is laid out in a swirling, maze-like pattern of circular, hedge-lined paths.
A survey showed that more Americans than usual plan to spend extra time outside, on hiking trails and area parks during the COVID-19 outbreak. The activities at nature-based sites represent the Spirit of Travel and the fact that fresh air breaks are not only pleasant mini-excursions, but necessary parts of our new normal.
Some places in Chatham County are still open and can be explored for a hike, birding, boating, or a run. Virtual races are a new and fun way to get outside while continuing to support participating organizations. The American Tobacco Trail is ideal for a virtual race and you’ll find a few nature spots online. Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines.