A Walk in the Park
Feeling better might be as easy as a walk in the park. Research has found that people who spend at least 120 minutes (2 hours) in nature per week are significantly more likely to report good health and better psychological well being than those who don’t spend time in nature (1).
Data from nearly 20,000 people in England found that the 120-minute threshold applied to both men and women, to older and younger adults, across different occupational and ethnic groups, among those living in both rich and poor areas, and among people with long term illnesses or disabilities.
And you don’t have to go out into the wilderness to feel better; the majority of sojourns into nature by the people in the study were within 2 miles of home. And the good news is that it didn’t make much difference whether the 2 hours in nature was in one block or spread out over the week.
There may be many reasons why spending time in nature is good for mental and physical well being, including:
- Increased vitamin D – from spending time in daylight with some skin exposed. Vitamin D benefits many aspects of physical and mental health.
- Quality time with friends and family.
- Being in nature usually means you are not sitting down.
- Time away from work, home and the stresses of everyday life.
- Time away from the screen.
- A chance to put things into perspective.
1. White MP, Alcock I et al. Spending at least 20 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports