“Come to the woods, for here is rest,” wrote John Muir, the 19th Century Scottish-American naturalist who was one of the earliest advocates of US national parks.
Muir spent large chunks of his life exploring Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, and wrote prolifically of his belief in nature’s nourishing role, saying: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
And it seems like Muir was on to something: there is mounting evidence that spending time in nature makes us healthier and happier.
It’s something many people feel instinctively. But we’re busy at work, distracted by technology and often live in urban environments far from wild spaces. We also don’t get out much: the average American, for example, spends about 90% of their life indoors.
But what happens if we make time for an hour outside each day? Does it matter where we go, and what’s the value of shoehorning outside time into a busy work schedule?