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A Healthier You

Two hours a week spent outdoors in nature linked with better health

06/23/2019

(New Scientist) – Spending just 2 hours a week in green spaces such as parks, woodlands and fields has been linked with people feeling healthier and happier.

The health benefits of being out in nature have been well-documented and will seem common sense to many of us, but until now no one has quantified exactly how much time might be beneficial. The magic number emerged from analysis of a survey of 20,000 people in England, who reported how long they spent in natural environments in the past week, plus their health and well-being.

While individuals who spent less than 2 hours in nature were no more likely to report good health or well-being than those who spent no time there at all, those who spent more than 2 hours had consistently higher health and well-being levels.

“It’s not a huge amount of time. You can spread it over the course of a week or seem to get it in a single dose, it doesn’t really matter,” says Mathew White at the University of Exeter, UK. Moreover, the threshold is within reach for most people: the analysis found that the average person spent 94 minutes a week exposed to a natural environment.

“We have long known that nature is good for physical and mental health and putting numbers on the critical ‘dose of nature’ which gives us the best health is a really important step forward,” says Rachel Stancliffe of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in Oxford, UK.

Read the full story at newscientist.com.


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