Urbanization has become one of the most important global health issues, with cities being the center of chronic, non-communicable physical and mental health conditions. This led to the growing recognition of nature as a way of addressing this problem.
A study led by Dr Danielle Shanahan of the University of Queensland (UQ) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) supported this notion and suggested that people might need a ‘minimum’ exposure of nature.
As it turns out, people who give time visiting nature for 30 minutes or more each week are much less likely to have high blood pressure and/or depression than those who don’t. Additionally, people with stronger self-reported connection to nature also appear to have greater levels of social cohesion and physical activity.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. This mental health problem, at its worst, can lead to suicide. This causes over 800,000 deaths every year. Also, about 1 of 3 U.S. adults or about 75 million people suffer from high blood pressure and only about half of these people were able to take control of this disease. Hence, this study presents the most accessible and viable solution for these growing problems.
“We’ve known for a long time that visiting parks is good for our health, but we are now beginning to establish exactly how much time we need to spend in parks to gain these benefits,” says Prof Fuller, an associate researcher of the aforementioned study. Finally, we have a solid scientific evidence that it only takes at least half an hour of regular visit to nature in order to have various health benefits.
So, what are you waiting for? Visit your local park or go to the nearest mountain for a hike and get your weekly ‘dose’ of nature today!
Shanahan, D. F. et al
. Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose. Sci. Rep. 6
, 28551; doi: 10.1038/srep28551 (2016).