Updated: Oct 10, 2022
At Nature To Go, we're all about health and well-being (naturally!) and we love to share the latest research on the benefits of exposure to nature on human health and well-being. Mother nature has a lot to offer—not only does she provide such essentials as food, clean water, and the air we breathe but she can also have a beneficial impact on our health²⁻⁹.
If you have felt under the weather lately, we have an easy solution to make you feel better at almost no cost. Research shows that spending 120 minutes per week in natural environments (that's only 2 hours folks!) is enough to do just that. The study showed that it doesn't matter whether you are outdoors for 120 minutes continuously or in shorter intervals throughout the week. If this didn't convince you to dash out of your house, here comes the best part: it also makes no difference if you are spending the time actively or not. All you have to do is be in nature, whether it's at a local park, forest, beach, or in the Himalayas (anything goes).
If you are busy like us, then you might think 2 hours of your time per week is impossible to carve out. Let us prove you wrong and show you a few easy ways to reach that target of 120 minutes/week effortlessly. If you have a dog then you are probably already spending enough time walking your furry friend. However, for those of you without pets, you can simply make a little detour during one of your weekly trips to the supermarket or local shop (provided you are walking and not driving, of course), by going through your local park, public garden, or forest (if you are that lucky!). Not everybody has easy daily access to nature, so for those of you who don't, we would simply suggest a nice, long visit to the beach or park at the weekend. If you are particularly adventurous, you could hop on your bicycle and cycle to your destination. We are sure you would hit the target in no time.
Alternatively, if you feel like you need guidance and would like to reap even more benefits from nature connectedness, we highly recommend our forest bathing workshops with certified and knowledgeable professionals.
We can assure you that spending those 2 hours will make you feel better about yourself, your health, and your well-being and will ultimately be a wise long-term investment in your health.
In our post we cited the following scientific publications:
(1) White, M.P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J. et al. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports 9, 7730 (2019).
(2) Kardan, O. et al. Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center. Scientific Reports 5, 11610 (2015).
(3) Halonen, J. I. et al. Green and blue areas as predictors of overweight and obesity in an 8‐year follow‐up study. Obesity 22, 1910–1917 (2014).
(4) Astell-Burt, T., Feng, X. & Kolt, G. S. Is neighborhood green space associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes? Evidence from 267,072 Australians. Diabetes Care 37, 197–201 (2014).
(5) Alcock, I. et al. Land cover and air pollution are associated with asthma hospitalisations: A cross-sectional study. Environment International 109, 29–41 (2017).
(6) Mitchell, R. J., Richardson, E. A., Shortt, N. K. & Pearce, J. R. Neighborhood environments and socioeconomic inequalities in mental well-being. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 49, 80–84 (2015).
(7) Gascon, M. et al. Residential green spaces and mortality: a systematic review. Environment International 86, 60–67 (2016).
(8) Wood, S. L. et al. Exploring the relationship between childhood obesity and proximity to the coast: A rural/urban perspective. Health Place 40, 129–136 (2016).
(9) Dadvand, P. et al. Green spaces and spectacles use in schoolchildren in Barcelona. Environmental Research 152, 256–262 (2017)