A large body of literature points to the healing powers of spending time in nature; positively impacting obesity, cardiovascular disease, mental health, and asthma. Recent work in the NHS Scotland shows that doctors are now prescribing “time in nature” for people with depression and anxiety which suggests we as humans need to connect back to our roots by whatever means necessary to preserve health and wellbeing.
One outstanding question is how much time do we need to spend to see a wellbeing boost? A new paper by Matthew White and colleagues from the University of Exeter published in Nature Scientific Reports provides more specifics on dose-response of exposure nature and positive impacts on health and wellbeing. The study included 19,806 participants who completed surveys on self-reported activity levels and subjective wellbeing. The sample was 52% female, urban dwelling (94%) and between the ages of 16-65 (74%). Findings show that 120 minutes a week exposure in nature, that being time spent in local parks, and green space was associated with higher levels of self-reported health, and wellbeing. These associations peaked at 200-300 minutes a week, so no additional benefit on health and wellbeing measures was shown over those levels.
The good news is spending time in nature will also help you reach your daily physical activity goal of 30 minutes a day. Double bonus points if you own a dog as research points to dog owners being more likely to reach their daily activity target and what dog doesn’t like nature? Urban planning often accounts for new community developments include green space and places where people can be in the community. Including parks and green spaces in all new urban developments now seems imperative for health and wellbeing.
Thanks for reading – Trina
(Opinions are my own)
Doctors prescribing time in nature
Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing