Dawn Bradley

The best exercise to reduce stress and cortisol

We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us.

A study carried out by Dr. Mary Carol Hunter at the University of Michigan shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.

  • More specifically, just 20 minutes is enough to significantly drop cortisol levels (cortisol being your body’s main stress hormone), but 20-30 minutes drops these levels at the greatest rate. 
  • The researchers noted that the benefit comes from sitting or walking in nature, not running/aerobically exercising (which influences stress) and that it should exclude any conversations, reading, or social media.
  • Just imagine: 25 minutes strolling on your favourite nature trail, without another soul in site, and no sounds but the lightly swirling wind through the trees and the occasional rustling of leaves or chirping of a bird.

Taken from: https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/science-just-revealed-a-20-minute-routine-that-can-significantly-reduce-your-stress.html