Two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and well-being

Posted on June 17, 2019

Research led by the University of Exeter, found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well-being than those who don’t visit nature at all during an average week. However, no such benefits were found for people who visited natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week.

The study used data from nearly 20,000 people in England and found that it did not matter if the 120 minutes was achieved in a single visit or over several short visits. It is also found that the 120-minute threshold applied to both men and women, to older and younger adults, across different occupational and ethnic groups, regardless of the rich or poor, and even among people with long term illnesses or disabilities.

While it is known that going outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and well-being, it is still difficult to determine how much is enough. Most nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing. There is growing evidence that merely living in a greener neighborhood can be good for health, e.g., reducing air pollution. The data for the research came from Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey, the world’s largest study collecting data on people’s weekly contact with the natural world.

These findings offer valuable support to health practitioners in making recommendations about spending time in nature to promote basic health and well-being, similar to guidelines for weekly physical exercises.

Source material from Science Daily

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