Healthy living

Festive walk 'key to a happier Christmas'

Festive walk  key to a happier Christmas Helps to reduce stress

Reviving the traditional Christmas walk could be the key to a happier Christmas, research finds.

The study found that 80 per cent of Britain’s happiest people have a strong connection with nature and the outdoors.

The National Trust commissioned the research as part of its investigation into public access and enjoyment of the outdoors.

Their results build on findings from Essex University earlier this year that showed that as little as five minutes in green space can have a significant impact on things like depression, stress and low self esteem.

Mark Harold, from the National Trust, said: "'Wellbeing and happiness are complicated areas to properly measure but these findings support a growing number of academic studies that show the importance of access to the outdoors for both health and well-being.

"Christmas is that one time of the year when the whole nation wraps up and goes for a walk with friends and family so it makes sense to ask questions now about happiness and the outdoors, particularly of those who access the outdoors less frequently."

With the development of a well-being measure high on the Government’s agenda, there is growing support for how the outdoors can bring low cost benefits for public well-being and health.

"Over recent years, the stress of Christmas has increased - so much so that a search for 'Christmas stress tips' on Google returns more than 17 million results.

"The festive walk is one such antidote and often bears a sharp contrast to commercial build up to Christmas. Whether it’s a bracing hilltop march or an amble through the park, I know many people value walking as a simple pleasure and a chance to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the season."

The National Trust is asking people to add #festivewalks messages to Twitter and Facebook to say whether they feel happier (or not) after their walk. The results will be analysed and published on the Outdoor Nation website in January.

This article was published on Fri 24 December 2010



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