Too stressed to take a walk in the park?

Global Green Spaces Report reveals worrying trend.

“We know the benefits of green spaces only too well. We just seem to be losing the energy to get to them.”

According to the Global Green Space Report 2013 conducted by the Husqvarna Group, where spending time in nature is concerned, what we do and what we want to do are very different.

The 2013 report interviewed 4 500 people from 9 countries: Sweden, China, Russia, the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, Poland and France.

Almost everyone interviewed stated that they want to spend more time in green spaces, and that they believe they need and deserve it – yet most also admitted that they are spending far less time in nature than they were 5 years ago.

Landscape designer top career choice

According to the Report, we have a very clear idea of what nature can do for us. We understand that it can benefit us in terms of our health, our stress levels, lifestyles and general wellbeing. In fact, when asked what they would do if they could start their careers all over, respondents were given choices between careers that included a chef, lawyer, accountant, journalist, teacher, pilot, engineer and landscape designer. Landscape designer was the No.1 career chosen by 21%, followed by medical doctor at 17%.

Here are a few more interesting stats:

77% of people interviewed said that they would like their children to spend more time in parks.

74% said that they would like their children to spend more time in their own garden.

• When asked what they believe contributes most to their happiness, 84% said ‘Family’, followed by 61% who said ‘Nature’, while only 30% believed it to be ‘Money’.

89% of people interviewed believe that access to green spaces is a human right.

82% of the respondents felt that spending time in green spaces relieves stress and anxiety.

72% of people said that getting some fresh air would boost their work performance, while only 23% felt that coffee would help more.

And yet, we are all spending far less time in nature than we ever have.

This gap can largely be attributed to severe urbanisation, but also because of the pressures and time constraints placed on us by demanding jobs and fast-paced lifestyles.

The No.1 reason given for not spending more time in nature was ‘too much work’. Yet, when asked how time away from work is spent, the results were pretty unanimous – we sit on our couches and stare at screens.

• In Sweden, 90% of people aged 12 – 44 use the internet every day.

• Americans over the age of 2 spend an average of 34 hours a week watching television.

• People in the largest cities in China spend 70% of their leisure time on the internet.

What about you?

How will you spend your free time this summer? Are you going to drag yourself home and stare at your TV or computer screen for hours on end every day, or are you going to get out there, breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine and green spaces available to you?