New medical study shows necessity of spending at least 2 hours a week in nature
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As man is a part of nature, the idea that being cut off from it would lead to adverse health effects should be fairly common sense. However, there has been little research to precisely qualify the negative effects of living cut-off from nature or quantitatively measure how much time in nature we need, and so that is what a recently published study from Exeter Medical School sought to achieve.
The study, available to read here, surveyed 19,806 representative participants to have them self-report on their weekly contact with nature and their health and well-being. The results showed a strong correlation between spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature with decreased co-morbidity factors (obesity, diabetes, and mental health issues), and that correlation peaked with 200-300 minutes of time in nature per week. The scientists noted that the effect size did not seem to depend on age, chronic illness, or any other factors, and suggested further longitudinal and interventional studies to set more official public health guidelines.
On a global scale, the internet and the mobile technology associated with it have created more change and societal upheaval than perhaps in any other time in modern history. It is difficult for the physical health and psychological sciences to keep up as it takes years to properly conduct and publish studies; by the time they have been published, they may already be completely outdated. Without men in white coats telling us exactly how many notifications we can view and how many media-induced outrages we can experience per day, it can be attractive to think that the modern always-on, all-digital lifestyle is a healthy one. The evidence is mounting that it is not, so if you aren't getting 2-5 hours of time in nature per week yet, it just might be time to get at it (while it's still there)!