In a recent article published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, researchers found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces, such as parks or other natural environments, were more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. Nature has robust positive effects on various areas of people’s health and is associated with physical, mental and emotional benefits.
Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, who led this study on 20,000 people, said “It’s well-known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and well-being, but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough.”
With the increasing number of screens and technology in our everyday lives, researchers, health experts and government officials are now proposing widespread changes aimed at bringing nature into people’s everyday lives.
For Orange County residents, spending two short hours a week outdoors can be an easy task with the countless parks, trails and diverse natural habitats throughout the area. Locals can trek through places like City of Irvine’s Quail Hill and Bommer Canyon or the City of Newport Beach’s Buck Gully, which are open seven days a week for self-guided access, or sign up for a variety of scheduled activities and stewardship programs throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks on LetsGoOutside.org.
San Diego-based journalist Richard Louv, whose book Last Child in the Woods is largely credited with triggering this movement, said “Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive functioning.”
So, get outside and start the new year with a fresh new goal to spend at least two hours in nature every week! Refresh your mind and unplug from the stresses of life with a walk, hike, or bike ride on the Landmarks.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy, OC Parks, City of Irvine and the City of Newport Beach offer a variety of outdoor activities for the public to join. Whether you enjoy a weekday hike, mountain bike ride or morning yoga, there are plenty of options to choose from for your next adventure. Most programs on the Landmarks are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each activity. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information about activities offered on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.