To keep as happy and healthy as possible, you may think that you need to make big life changes. However, an increasing number of studies show that small, daily differences can have the biggest and most long-lasting impact—even if they total just a couple hours a week.
According to new findings from the University of Exeter, people who spend two hours a week outdoors “report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who don't visit nature at all” during a seven-day period. According to the study, it doesn't matter if these two hours occur during a single outing or in smaller bursts. Similarly, the type of natural setting—whether a rural forest or a city park—has little impact. All that matters is that you get yourself outside for at least 120 minutes.
While the existence of a link between one's well-being and connection to nature is not surprising, this is the first time that researchers have been able to prescribe a recommended “dosage” for outdoor activity. “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,” Dr. Matthew White, the paper's lead author, explains.
To conduct this study, the university analyzed data from roughly 20,000 subjects. Surprisingly, the results were the same across the board, regardless of age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, social class, and other factors. This means that, thanks to this indispensable information, people from all walks of life can be sure they're meeting their weekly nature needs.
The paper, “Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing,” can be found in its entirety on the Scientific Reports website.
According to a large-scale study by the University of Exeter, there are health and wellness benefits to spending time in nature—even if just for two hours a week.