Why Americans Are Craving Outdoor Time More Than Ever

SWNS / Talker Research

On average, people need to spend 67 minutes outside every day in order to feel refreshed, according to a new poll conducted for Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

The survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S. revealed that over half of Americans (57%) say they are craving time spent outdoors more today than ever before.

Results found 68% of those who spent time outside saying it relaxes them, puts them in a better mood, and helps them clear their heads.

Likewise, spending too much time indoors has led to feelings of depression for 38%, anxiousness for 33%, and loneliness for 32% of those polled, according to the research.

Six in 10 said they get stir-crazy after spending too much time inside—with negative emotions resulting from outdoor plans getting derailed by cancellations or bad weather.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 16% of respondents have experienced a shift in their travel preferences, favoring places in nature, according to the poll conducted by Talker Research on behalf of RVshare.

“From enhanced mood to feelings of relaxation and wellbeing, there are so many physical and mental benefits that come from breaking through the four walls and exploring open-air adventures and activities,” said RVshare’s CEO Jon Gray.

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“During Mental Health Awareness Month, we are encouraged to be mindful of how we’re spending our time and factor outdoor experiences into our everyday lives, including our travel plans.”

Respondents also shared their favorite outdoor activities, with a majority saying they enjoy these because they can benefit both mental and physical health. Some of these included walking, grilling, hiking, bicycling, and sports.

Findings showed that 67% of Americans view travel as a method of self-care and four in 10 (42%) said they need to book a trip to “escape” at least once every six months.

Those who vacation in the great outdoors are seeing benefits to their mental health through reduced stress (36%), mental recharging (33%), and becoming more grateful for the things they have (23%).

One-third of respondents regularly choose vacations centered around outdoor activities, with 44% most excited about trips to the beach, 29% choosing national parks, and 12% preferring cross-country road trips.

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Over half (57%) preferred driving to their destination, compared to flying (25%). This could be due to the belief that the journey to a destination is part of the vacation itself, which is felt by the majority of respondents (83%).

All in all, outdoor trips are having a positive impact on American lives, as indicated by 83% of survey respondents.

“A key takeaway here is that spending time in nature and on the open road while traveling has both physical and mental benefits,” said Gray. “Whether soaking up the sun, hiking a new trail or gazing up at the starry sky, we’ve all experienced the invaluable renewal, mental clarity and freeness that comes from being outdoors.”

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