A study published in Scientific Reports finds that just two hours a week in nature is enough to reap both physical and psychological health benefits.
The study, conducted in the U.K., asked nearly 20,000 participants to self-report health and well-being.
Although it's common knowledge that time spent outdoors is good for a person’s health, the study aimed to understand the type and quantity of natural encounters needed to receive health benefits. The researchers hoped to use those findings to set health guidelines, like those set for the number of fruits or vegetables a person should eat.
The study compared the amount of time outdoors that a respondent reported for the previous week with his or her self-reported changes in health and well-being as a result. The respondents were randomly selected and were representative of Great Britain.
According to Matthew White, the study’s lead author, an important aspect of the “two-hour threshold” is that it was present in all groups: young and old, men and women, people in cities or rural communities, deprived and wealthy communities, and people with and without long-term illness or disability.