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article imageSeeking the ultimate wellbeing? You need two hours of nature

By Tim Sandle     Jun 15, 2019 in Travel
Stressed? Finding modern life too much? The solution, according to new research, is two hours a week spent outdoors close to nature, as the key dose of for good mental health.
The finding that two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and wellbeing comes from the University of Exeter, based on a long-term study. The core finding is that those who spend a minimum of 120 minutes experiencing nature each week are significantly more likely to report good mental health as well as better psychological wellbeing, compared with people who do not experience nature during an average week. By 'nature' this extended to town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches.
Furthermore, the two hours or more was found to be significant, with no real benefits noted for those who engage with nature but for less time. As lead researcher Dr Mat White notes: "It's well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people's health and wellbeing but until now we've not been able to say how much is enough." With the two hours, this did not need to be two continuous hours but it could be made up of varying units of time.
The academic adds: "The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban greenspaces seems to be a good thing. 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."
To compile the data, the researchers drew on data from 20,000 people in England. As well as the importance of the 120 minute threshold, there were no differences in relation to time between men or women, to people of different ages or children. Furthermore, there were no variations in terms of occupations or ethnicity, of with household income. This built on earlier studies that indicate time spent outdoors is good for our mental and physical health.
The research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports, with the research paper titled "Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing."
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