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Walk in the park is key to a happy Christmas

Reviving the traditional festive walk could be the key to a happier Christmas, researchers said today.

The study found 80pc of happiest people have a strong connection with nature and the outdoors.

The results build on findings from separate research earlier this year which showed as little as five minutes in green space can have a significant impact on things like depression, stress and low self-esteem.

Mark Harold, from Britain's National Trust which conducted the study, said: "these findings support a growing number of academic studies that show the importance of access to the outdoors for both health and wellbeing.

"Christmas is that one time of the year when the whole nation wraps up and goes for a walk with friends and family so it makes sense to ask questions now about happiness and the outdoors, particularly of those who access the outdoors less frequently."

With increased concerns about people's wellbeing , there is growing interest in how the outdoors can bring low cost benefits for public wellbeing and health.

Researchers are asking people to add festive walks messages to Twitter and Facebook to say whether they feel happier or not after their walk this Christmas.

The results will be analysed and published on the website www.outdoornation.org.uk in January.


Mr Harold added: "Over recent years, the stress of Christmas has increased -- so much so that a search for 'Christmas stress tips' on Google returns more than 17 million results.

"The festive walk is one such antidote and often bears a sharp contrast to commercial build-up to Christmas.

"Whether it's a bracing hilltop march or an amble through the park, I know many people value walking as a simple pleasure and a chance to unwind from the hustle and bustle."