20 Minutes Well Spent

Trail along Fairhaven Bay, Wright Woods.

A year ago my interest was captured by a press release from researchers at the University of Michigan claiming that it took just 20 minutes to realize the benefits of being in nature. These benefits were measured as reductions in the level of the stress hormone cortisol. The research was conducted to demonstrate that contact with nature has evidence-based and measurable value, and is particularly applicable for urbanites and those with indoor lifestyles. Twenty minutes significantly reduced cortisol levels and 30 minutes were even better.

I recalled these numbers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when more and more people were out on Land Trust trails, in all likelihood experiencing the stress release that the research predicted. Thirteen of our properties offer walks that take 20 minutes or more and many provide quiet and scenic spots for sitting (the study showed that sitting and walking were equally effective). We have heard from so many people how much they appreciate the solace and peace they find by walking on our lands.

The Land Trust has had to adjust its regulations for use (shown on our website at www.concordland.org) and has encouraged visitors to use the lesser-known properties to reduce congestion. But how wonderful it is that, during this crisis, so many opportunities exist where people can experience nature, sometimes literally in their own back yards! I am so gratified and humbled, as always, by the foresight and generosity of the Land Trust members who made this possible.

— Joan Ferguson, Chair

Trail along Sudbury River at Brooks Hudson Meadow, Nashawtuc Hill Properties.
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