The secret to health and happiness just may lie in the simple things, like spending time outdoors, according to a new survey by Traditional Medicinals, the nation's leading wellness tea company. The survey, fielded by Kelton, found while the typical American spent nearly one month (28 days) feeling unwell during the last year, those who spent at least one hour outside each week reported feeling healthier than those who didn't (84 vs. 65 percent).
Additionally, those practicing routine self-care - including eating a plant-based diet, drinking herbal tea or seeing their doctor for routine check-ups - reported feeling healthier, happier and more fulfilled than those who didn't, and those taking proactive health measures spent on average 19 fewer days feeling unwell. Of the 10 top U.S. cities surveyed, those in San Francisco and Atlanta appeared to take most control of their health and reported that it made a difference in their sense of well-being.
This take-charge attitude has only recently become part of consumers' daily routines, with one in three respondents noting greater adoption of regular wellness routines in the past five years.
Use of natural remedies has also increased recently, with more than one in three (35 percent) Americans reporting they do more today to take care of themselves with natural remedies than they did five years ago. Education about natural remedies, however, is lacking. Nearly two in five (39 percent) of those who don't already only use natural remedies for their health needs would be motivated to do so if they simply knew more about them.
"Traditional Medicinals was founded 40 years ago on the belief that plants have great power to contribute to the wellness of people and the planet," said Blair Kellison, Traditional Medicinals CEO. "But as survey respondents revealed, habits rooted in nature like spending time outdoors have a profoundly positive impact on mood and spirit as well. We also found that more education is needed in order for more Americans to look to nature to improve their overall health."
More specifically, the survey revealed:
Nature nurtures: Americans who spend at least one hour outside each week are more likely than those who don't to report they are healthy (84 vs. 65 percent), happy (81 vs. 71 percent), personally fulfilled (69 vs. 54 percent), calm (78 vs. 68 percent) and well-rested (60 vs. 51 percent).
There's something in the tea: More Americans who drink herbal tea to help maintain their everyday wellness than those who don't say they are healthy (86 vs. 78 percent), happy (85 vs. 77 percent) and personally fulfilled (75 vs. 63 percent).
Wellness benefits of plants unrecognized: Approximately half of all Americans agree that plants can have a positive impact on someone's wellness (51 percent), but they are generally uninformed about the specific health benefits of common plants: 94 percent don't realize chamomile's main benefit is soothing the digestive system, and 88 percent are unaware that ginger's key perk is preventing motion sickness.
Ambitious Atlanta: Atlantans are more likely than their counterparts in other big cities to be proactive about their health, including eating a plant based diet (33%), spending time outdoors (35%), and drinking herbal wellness teas (23%) to maintain their well-being. Comparatively, Atlantans report feeling happier (87 percent) and more personally fulfilled (74 percent) than respondents in any other top DMA.
Healthy by the Bay: San Franciscans go the extra mile to promote their own wellness by being conscious of the foods they put into their bodies. Compared to their counterparts in other big cities, they are most likely to avoid processed foods (40 percent) and opt for organic at the grocery store (37 percent). Bay Area residents were the most likely to report feeling extremely healthy (23 percent), and felt unwell for the fewest number of days (21), compared to other top DMAs.
The Nature-Based Wellness Survey was conducted by Kelton between Nov. 12 and Nov. 18, 2013, among 1,019 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over, as well as more than 500 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over in each of the top 10 DMAs, using an e-mail invitation and online survey. The margin of error for the national survey is 3.1, and the margins of error for the surveys in the top 10 DMAs range from 4-4.3.