A large-scale UK study found that those who spent at least 2 hours a week in nature were more likely to report good health and psychological wellbeing regardless of gender, age, occupation or ethnicity as well as how these 2 hours were achieved – regular shorter visits or less frequent longer visits during the week.
Over 19,000 participants were asked about their contact with nature during the previous week, including parks, nature areas, beaches, farmland, hills, and rivers excluding routine shopping trips or time spent in their own garden. Compared with no nature contact, those who spent at least 2 hours per week in nature were 23% more likely to report good wellbeing and 59% more likely to report good health. This benefit was proportional to weekly time spent exposed to nature peaking at around 3 hours per week.
Why it matters: Direct exposure to natural environments has long been associated with good health, however, how much time exactly was unclear. The 2 hours per week threshold finding is an important stepping stone towards future studies that will look at exactly how nature exposure affects health and wellbeing which will support future evidence-based health recommendations.
Source: Scientific Reports