Is Spending Time With Nature Beneficial to Health?

For most people, majority of their time is spent at work or at home. It’s almost impossible for some to escape the hectic daily demands of the job they love so much or the cozy and warm comfort of their homes. But everyone knows how important it is to spend some time with nature away from work and away from home.

Certainly, there many options available for relaxing your body and mind, whether it’s watching a movie, listening to music, exercising at the gym, or just taking a nice shower and nap. However, there is increasing research evidence for which researchers are recommending that you add spending some time with nature to refresh your mind and body.

Spending Two Hours a Week With Nature is a Key Dose For Health and Well-being

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.

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.

Nature Time Boosts Well-being

Spending time in nature can boost overall well-being, the study concludes that 2 hours each week is enough to reap the benefits, though significant questions remain.

As part of their investigation, the team took data from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment survey, which includes a representative sample of the U.K. public. The researchers collected data for this survey by conducting face-to-face interviews at participants’ homes.

They used a sample of 20,264 people and asked them a range of questions, two of which were, “How is your health in general?” and “Overall, how satisfied are you with life nowadays?”

They also asked the participants how much contact they had had with nature in the past 7 days, including “parks, canals, and nature areas; the coast and beaches; and the countryside including farmland, woodland, hills, and rivers,” but not including “routine shopping trips or time spent in your own garden.”

They found that there were no significant benefits to self-reported health or well-being until participants reached the 2-hour mark. Any less did not make a noticeable difference, and any more did not boost the positive effect any further.

Looking to Start a Relaxation Routine?

If you are looking for that get away weekly routine to ease off your work stress, you might want to consider making an appointment with nature at least 2 hours weekly. Make a research of some of the best nature spots just around you that you can easily access weekly just to chill out with nature, or you can even look for that place to take a vacation with friends and family just to enjoy nature.

You don’t have to stop your routine exercises or whatever else you do to manage stress. But it will surely do you your health more good if you could add spending time with nature to that weekly routine of yours.

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