Be it a stroll through Central Park, a swim at Bondi beach or a hike through Runyon Canyon, there’s something about getting out in nature that nourishes and revitalises the soul like nothing else. While we know it feels good and we should do it more often, unfortunately, unlike our daily shot of coffee or sweat session, when it comes to getting grounded in nature—it tends to fall to the back of the self care line, only happening ‘if’ and ‘when’ everything else is done. Yet, with a new research highlighting the benefits it has to our health and wellbeing, it might just be time to move nature higher up the priority ladder. In a study from the University of Exeter, researchers have found that just two hours a week out in nature—or 120 minutes—has the power to significantly boost our health and psychological wellbeing.
Looking at data of over 20,000 people in the UK, researchers determined it didn’t matter whether people went for one consecutive two hour hike or took several short strolls amounting to 120 minutes over the week, the evidence found as long as they got out and about and met the minimum guidelines, they would experience higher psychological wellbeing and better overall health versus those who didn’t. In addition, research found the nature dose of choice didn’t matter either—park, beach, woodlands or urban greenspaces—as long as the minimum minutes were achieved. Also, interestingly, the results yielded the same benefits for all people—from men to women, young to old, one ethnicity to the next, wealthy to poor, people with long-term illnesses or disabilities to those in general good health, the power of nature had the same potent positive effect on all.
While previous research has offered us the 10,000 steps a day standard for fitness, there was never a definitive quota for our nature needs, but now thanks to the University of Exeter research, the stats are out! No excuses to not get your nature fix in now! Plus, with nature found to offer every kind of healing benefit you could imagine—from improving short-term memory, to reviving mental energy, evoking a sense of ‘awe’ to relieving stress reliefand boosting vitality—a walk around the park never looked so good.