Tuesday 23 July 2019

Two hours at peace with nature each week is key to well-being

Spending at least two hours a week enjoying nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and well-being, according to a study. (stock photo)
Spending at least two hours a week enjoying nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and well-being, according to a study. (stock photo)

Rod Minchin

Spending at least two hours a week enjoying nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and well-being, according to a study.

Researchers found that people who spend at least 120 minutes enjoying the great outdoors each week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well-being than those who do not witness nature at all.

No such benefits were found for people who visited natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week.

Experts say taking a walk in the woods, listening to birdsong, looking around and engaging with nature lowers stress and blood pressure.

Last year in Britain, NHS Shetland became the first organisation to start prescribing nature walks.

The University of Exeter-led study used data from nearly 20,000 people in England and found that it did not matter whether the 120 minutes was achieved in a single visit or over several shorter visits.

It also found the threshold applied to both men and women, to older and younger adults and across different occupational and ethnic groups.

Irish Independent

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