Search




Categories: HealthLife

Two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and wellbeing

Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and wellbeing, according to a new large-scale study.

Research led by the University of Exeter, published in Scientific Reports and funded by NIHR, found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing 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 didn’t matter whether the 120 minutes was achieved in a single visit or over several shorter visits. It also found the 120 minute threshold applied to both men and women, to older and younger adults, across different occupational and ethnic groups, among those living in both rich and poor areas, and even among people with long term illnesses or disabilities.

Dr Mat White, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the study, said: “It’s well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and wellbeing but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough. The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban greenspaces seems to be a good thing. Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.”

There is growing evidence that merely living in a greener neighbourhood can be good for health, for instance by reducing air pollution. The data for the current 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.

Co-author of the research, Professor Terry Hartig of Uppsala University in Sweden said: “There are many reasons why spending time in nature may be good for health and wellbeing, including getting perspective on life circumstances, reducing stress, and enjoying quality time with friends and family. The current findings offer valuable support to health practitioners in making recommendations about spending time in nature to promote basic health and wellbeing, similar to guidelines for weekly physical”.

Source: University of Exeter

Journal: Scientific Reports
Funder: National Institute for Health Research
cheryl

Share
Published by
cheryl

Recent Posts

Caring for family is what motivates people worldwide

International study including 27 countries shows people prioritize loved ones over everything else Across the globe, caring for loved ones…

21 hours ago

Teens must ‘get smart’ about social media

Warning of effects on young adolescents New research indicates that social media is leading young adolescent girls and boys down…

2 days ago

Smoking may cause white scars on the brain

Scarring in their brain's white matter does more harm than previously thought It's quite possible that you are one of…

3 days ago

Fake news feels less immoral to share when we’ve seen it before

People may share viral misinformation even when they know it's false People who repeatedly encounter a fake news item may…

4 days ago

Dietary supplements may delay aging in animal models

We are getting older and older, but some diseases mean that the patients age far too early and therefore live…

5 days ago

How does protein fit in your holiday diet or New Year’s resolutions?

Study shows protein amounts larger than the recommended dietary allowance benefits only those who are cutting calories or strength training…

6 days ago