A quick lunch break beneath a tree feels great because the effect of fresh air, sunlight and a visually stimulating view is actually making changes in your body.
The benefits of spending 30 minutes in an urban park has been put to the scientific test, and shown to reduce blood pressure and improve mental health.
The University of Queensland study looked at the health and habits of more than 1500 Brisbane residents and found a 'dose' of nature resulted in more physical activity, lower blood pressure as well as improved self-reported mental health and social cohesion.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions researcher Richard Fuller said the effect of a weekly 30-minute park visit was so profound, it could reduce the population prevalence of depression by 7 percent and high blood pressure by 9 percent.
"We've known for a long time that visiting parks is good for our health, but we are now beginning to establish exactly how much time we need to spend in parks to gain these benefits," he said.
"We have specific evidence that we need regular visits of at least half an hour to ensure we get these benefits."
Fuller said more needed to be done to encourage people to visit urban parks, especially for young Australians.
"Our children especially benefit from spending more time outdoors," Fuller said.
"Kids who grow up experiencing natural environments may benefit developmentally and have a heightened environmental awareness as adults than those who don't."Suggest a correction