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49% of Brits from the South East spend one hour or less a day outdoors in an average week, according to a new global survey by YouGov.

children outside looking over town

VELUX, the roof window brand, have released findings that depict modern society’s vanishing relationship with the natural environment. The survey of over 2,000 adults across the UK, found that despite 89% of respondents stating that they would enjoy spending more time in nature, over half (51%) said that in a week they on average only spend one hour or less a day in it. The survey revealed that 85% believed they typically spent more time in nature as a child than children do today, indicating that this is a mounting problem. In our wellness focused nation, 80% of South East residents believe that having access to nature has a positive effect on their wellbeing. 

“That some people don’t even spend a full hour in nature during a day deeply concerns us, especially as we know that a connection to the natural environment has knock-on benefits on people’s overall wellbeing,” comments VELUX Head of Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate expert Peter Foldbjerg.  

“We spend up to 90% of our lives indoors and have become an indoor generation. The survey shows that British people do want to combat this, and it’s therefore crucial that we find ways to let nature back into our daily lives again,” he continues.

Restorative environment research studies have also documented how being in nature or exposed to nature can increase wellbeing.

children exploring woodland

Nature can reduce risk of illnesses involving chronic stress, as well as promote a range of intermediate outcomes such as subjective wellbeing,” explains Professor of environmental psychology Terry Hartig, Uppsala University, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, who has documented how exposure to nature can have restorative effects and potentially limit stress and increase wellbeing.

A new research review conducted by independent research institute RAND Europe, has also identified that several studies have documented nature’s positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, for instance helping reduce people’s perceived stress state.

The survey found that in addition to wanting to spend more time in nature, 75% of people in the South East think they should make changes to their daily routine and lifestyle to enable them to do so. Similarly, 86% of respondents believe that access to nature would have a positive effect on their mental wellbeing, while 88% believe it would reduce their stress levels. 

Letting in natural light and fresh air to the home could be one among many ways to re-establish our connection to nature,” says daylight, energy and indoor climate expert Peter Foldbjerg.

child with headphones using smartphone

This new population survey echoes VELUX’s new UK campaign, ‘Let nature back in’, which highlights the risks of a nature deficient society. It explores the effects that indoor-based lifestyles can have on our overall wellbeing amid a shift to an increasingly urbanized population, illustrated in a film directed by Martin de Thurah, showing how children from previous generations played outdoors, to the children of today who are far more likely to stay inside in front of various screens. 

Concerningly, the coming generation are likely to experience an even greater disconnect with nature, unless we begin to make some immediate changes – reshaping our homes, so they let the outside, in could be just one effective measure,” concludes Peter Foldbjerg.

To watch the film, go to outsidein.velux.com

Read these tips and tricks on how to let nature back into your home.

dappled light through trees

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