Walking in a park or natural area just feels good. Almost everybody intuitively knows that. But to scientifically prove that hasn’t always been easy. Fortunately there is now a growing body of scientific evidence that a walk in nature offers health benefits. A recently published article in the New York Times entitled “Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park” summarizes the results of several studies that show positive health effects of exposure to natural environments.
One of these studies, published in February 2015, used mobile electroencephalography (EEG) to record and analyse the emotional experience of a group of walkers in three types of urban environment including a green space setting. Results showed evidence of lower frustration and arousal, and higher meditation (or a calm mental state) when moving into the green space zone.
In another study people living close to parks and green spaces showed lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) than those living further away from such areas.
It is also known that exposure to natural environments can enhance attention not only in the general population but also in ADHD populations: children with Attention Deficit Disorder perform better in cognitive tasks after a walk in the park when compared to a walk in urban settings.
In conclusion, a walk in the park might be the best thing you can do to lower stress levels and increase productivity, and therefore companies should encourage their employees to do so regularly. And what better way to encourage this than to organize a nature excursion in the closest city park? Besides the already mentioned health benefits your employees will be engaging in a group activity, getting to know their work colleagues in a different setting, and learning something new at the same time, together.