Spending consistent time outdoors is linked to better mental health, Psych Central reports.
According to a study from the University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), people who visit parks 30 minutes each week have better mental health than people who do not.
This finding led the researchers to suggest that – much like with water, fruits and vegetables, and vitamins – people may also require a certain “dose of nature” to benefit overall health.
Parks offer visitors more than pleasant aesthetics. They also improve patrons’ lives by reducing risks for developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, stress, anxiety, and depression.
“If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour each week there would be seven percent fewer cases of depression and nine percent fewer cases of high blood pressure,” Dr. Danielle Shanahan elaborated.
Associate Professor Richard Fuller emphasized that this study tells us more than the health benefits of spending time in parks – it tells us how much time we need to spend in nature to reap its benefits.
“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,” he said. “We have specific evidence that we need regular visits of at least half an hour to ensure we get these benefits.”