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A new study has found that people who spend two hours per week in nature are inclined to report good health and better psychological welfare.
Researchers from the University of Exeter reviewed a survey on 20,000 participants regarding their contact with nature in the previous week. The participants answered questions about their overall experience and activities. They were also asked to establish the current state of their health and assess their well-being using a ten-point scale provided by the researchers.
Despite the varying age, socioeconomic status, and location, participants reported the same improved well-being after spending two hours a week in nature. One of the researchers reported that even people with long-term health problems tend to say they feel better after communing with nature. However, doing so for more than two hours did not appear to have additional benefits.
The researchers were unable to look into how and why being in nature results in better health. Nevertheless, they suggest that nature positively affects one’s health and lifestyle because it gives humans a sense of tranquility and a means to reduce stress.
This research is the first to quantify the length of time that one should spend in nature to reap its benefits. The study was conducted after realizing that doctors are unable to tell patients exactly how much time they should commune with nature.
With the study’s results, the researchers hope that lawmakers will put more importance on green spaces. The researchers also recommend using the findings when coming up with infrastructure developments, such as building urban parks.