How You Can Better Enjoy The Health Benefits Of Nature

A recently published study provided the world with a new reason to spend more time enjoying nature. However, many people missed out a key information in the report that may affect how a person really benefits from spending time outdoors. 

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggested that just two hours a week spent in nature could promote better health. But there is a less-reported part of the study that indicates not everyone can experience the same health benefits, Gizmodo pointed out

The findings come from the analysis of data on up to 20,000 participants from the United Kingdom gathered through the British government’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) program. 

Researchers asked each participant about their health, satisfaction with their life and how much time they spend in nature in a week. The team also asked about the areas they spend their time, such as parks, woodlands and beaches. 

Following the analysis, the researchers found that majority of participants had better health and well-being after spending at least 120 minutes outdoors. Either a short hike or four 30-minute reading sessions in the park was found helpful. 

However, one should consider the background. Not all of the participants experienced the health benefits of nature due to factors in areas surrounding nature.

“Contact with nature is more than just a complex multi-sensory experience,” the researchers said in their report. “To varying degrees personal histories and meanings, longstanding cultural practices, and a sense of place play some role in the benefits realised, factors which may account for why we did not find the same pattern for health [for] individuals not identifying as White British.”

Mathew White, lead researcher and a psychologist at the University of Exeter Medical School, said race also affected how nature provided little effect to some people. He said poorer people and those in communities of color may have already been suffering from health issues due to environmental factors.

He pointed out that most park spaces in the U.K. were designed for wealthy people. 

“There’s this huge distortion,” White said. “There’s a whole movement so that parks are more representative of spatial dimension of populations that come and use them.”

Outdoor exercise Spending at least two hours in nature has been found effective to promote better health. Pixabay