Nature ‘dose’ for health and happiness
Two hours a week in nature is the 'dose' you need to increase health and happiness
Posted on 17.06.2019
Two hours a week in nature is the threshold we need to reach before feeling the benefits to our health and wellbeing, according to new research.
We have long known that being in the great outdoors is good for us. But the authors of the new study, published in Scientific Reports, said theirs is the first large-scale research to quantify how much time is needed to feel the effects.
“This applies to old and young, males and females and the rich and the poor,” said lead researcher Dr White from the University of Exeter.
Effects were the same whether participants caught their nature time in small chunks or saved up their time outdoors for a weekend megadose.
Nature, as defined by the study, did not have to be pristine wilderness or spectacular national parks. Beaches, city parks or farmland were all included as natural environments.
Going for a surf or cycle might be a great way to pair outdoor time with getting active, but physical activity wasn’t necessary to feel the benefits of being in nature, Dr White said.
- Two hours a week in nature yields same benefit whether broken up or in a single session
- Results were similar for all incomes, abilities, ages and genders
- But many people face barriers in accessing the outdoors
The study used survey data from more than 19,000 participants in the United Kingdom, who were quizzed about their contact with nature.
Participants also described their health in categories ranging from “very bad” to “very good”. And to assess wellbeing, they were asked to rank how satisfied they were with their life on a ten-point scale.
“Many factors impact our relationship with a place, including political, social, economic, cultural, historical factors. These all come to bear on our subjective experience, which is hard to quantify,” Dr Marsh said.
“Any research that adds to adds to the body of knowledge around the positive impacts of nature on health and well-being is always very welcome.”
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