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Just 20-minute visit to park can cut stress, make you happy

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New York, Feb 26 (IANS) Forget morning walk or jogging, spending just 20 minutes in contact with mother nature can help you cut stress, mental fatigue and boost life satisfaction.

The study, published in International Journal of Environmental Health Research, intended to validate previous findings on the impact of a park visit on emotional well-being, and evaluate the contribution of choosing to participate in physical activity in the park in relation to emotional well-being after the park visit.

The team from the University of Alabama found that spending 20 minutes in a park could make people happier regardless of whether they are engaging in exercise or not during the visit.

Park visitors reported an improvement in emotional well-being. However, the levels of physical activity was not found to be related to the improved emotional well-being.

This means that potentially all people can benefit from time in a park, said Gavin R. Jenkins from the varsity.

"If you cannot be physically active due to ageing, a disability or any other limitations, the study implies a person can still gain health benefits just from a visit to a local park," he added.

A visit to park also led to improvement in life satisfaction by 64 per cent, the researchers said.

"There is increasing pressure on green space within urban settings. Planners and developers look to replace green space with residential and commercial property. The challenge facing cities is that there is an increasing evidence about the value of city parks but we continue to see the demise of theses spaces," Jenkins noted.

For the study, the team included nearly 100 adult visitors to a local park in urban areas.