Nature Improves Wellbeing
New research shows what it intuitive to many… nature improves wellbeing. This study from Exeter Medical even puts the optimum number of hours in nature at two hours per week. While it may be intuitive that nature improves wellbeing, we too often think that any healthy exposure to nature must a week hiking in Yosemite. However, researchers found that just a few hours per week is not only helpful but even critical for health.
As with much health advice, the simplest prescriptions seem to be the most effective. Common sense reigns supreme. That’s the consensus of a new study, published in Scientific Reports on June 13, which offers the most basic guidelines imaginable: spending at least two hours a week in nature will do wonders for your health.
The researchers, based at the U.K.’s Exeter Medical School, scoured previous studies to better understand how simply being outside benefits us. What did they find? They discovered being immersed in nature lower probabilities of asthma hospitalization, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental distress, obesity, and mortality in adults; it has also been shown to reduce obesity and myopia in children.
Two hours weekly appears to be the sweet spot, with peak positive associations capping between 200–300 minutes. One caveat: the research is based on nearly 20,000 people that live in dense urban regions. This makes sense, as it is this population most in need of woods, lakes, and mountains. There’s only so much one can take staring at asphalt (or a screen).
You may also enjoy Happy Icelanders