‘Hectic workloads and family pressures’ leave women unable to enjoy countryside, poll reveals

Almost half of British women surveyed said they did not have time to enjoy nature despite being aware of its positive impact on wellbeing.

The benefits of spending time in the great outdoors are far-reaching and well documented — from improving health and fitness to boosting mood and mental productivity — but it seems despite this knowledge, many of us are still unable to spend time enjoying nature.

A recent poll found that almost half of British women did not have time to explore the countryside or even walk in their local park.

This was despite 86 percent of the 2,000 women surveyed admitting they believed spending time in nature was a good way of relieving life’s pressures and worries.

The individuals involved in the poll attributed this outdoor sacrifice to poor work-life balance and time-consuming demands from family.

‘This research suggests women aren’t getting nearly enough time outdoors — which is concerning given the number of things modern women juggle at any one time,’ said James Wong, an ethnobotanist at Liz Earle, who co-commissioned the study.

‘Along with the physical benefits of taking a walk outdoors, there are important mental health benefits from being in nature such as relieving stress and anxiety as well as boosting mood, all whilst improving overall wellbeing.’

Sunrise on a misty morning in the Surrey Hills, in the English countryside.

The poll also found one in 10 only managed five or less minutes a day outside, with the average woman getting just 25 minutes of fresh air daily. Over one-third believed this was because they worked inside, while 35 percent said that when they were at home they were too tired to go outdoors.

Nevertheless, the women surveyed maintained that experiencing nature was one of the top ways they choose to improve their state of mind, and Country Life has reported on various projects which support this premise.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists have championed enjoying the great outdoors as a way to promote year-round wellbeing and a recent study found that listening to nature’s sounds was more relaxing that tuning into a meditative app.

Even a short spell of time away from our indoor confines can have huge benefits, as Patrick Begg, National Trust outdoors and natural resources director, explained.

‘Sometimes, a simple walk in woodlands, where you’re surrounded by the echoes of calling birds, and that satisfying crunch of fallen leaves and twigs underfoot, is the perfect remedy for reducing stress,’  he said.