Spend 120 minutes a week in nature, study says
120 minutes a week in nature. This is the precise amount of time we need in order to reap health benefits from the great outdoors. This is according to a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
It is well known that spending time outdoors is good for our health and well being. Numerous studies show that time in nature relieves stress. It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels. Nature-related activities can reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and improve our mood. Gardening and farming have been used as part of mental health treatment around the world for centuries, successfully reducing feelings of isolation and promoting calm. What we didn’t know was how long or how frequently we should be spending outside. Is there a recommended dose? How much nature is enough? Turns out the answer is 120 minutes each week.
Researchers examined data from nearly 20,000 people who took part in a survey where participants were asked to record their activities. From the data, experts discovered that people who spend two hours a week in green spaces report better health and greater psychological well-being than those who did not.
Interestingly, spending only 60 or 90 minutes outside showed no health benefits. And five hours a week in nature offered no additional health benefits either. “Two hours a week was the threshold for both men and women, older and younger adults, different ethnic groups, people living in richer or poorer areas, and even for those living with long term illnesses.”
Green Space Proximity
Living close to a park or green space did not matter. How often greenspaces were frequented did not matter. It also did not matter if participants got 120 minutes of outdoor time all at once or spaced over several visits. What mattered was accumulating two hours of outdoor time each week. Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, who led the study says, “Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.”
We can Help
An increasing number of healthcare professionals are embracing back-to-nature treatment by prescribing time outside which many Medicare recipients can benefit from. If you have Medicare questions call Empower today. Let us help with your Medicare questions so you can get back to the activities you enjoy the most. 1-888-446-9157 or click here to get an INSTANT QUOTE