SPENDING just two hours a week outdoors boosts health and happiness, a study shows.
And the benefits of chilling in a park, forest or on the beach are comparable to those achieved through exercise, researchers say.
2 Research has shown that spending just two hours outside a week can boost your mood and help reduce stress and blood pressureCredit: Getty
Those who embraced nature for just a couple of hours or more a week were 59 per cent more likely to feel in good health.
They were also 23 per cent more likely to be satisfied with life than those who never ventured out.
Researcher Dr Mat White said: “Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.”
The findings come from a University of Exeter analysis of data on nearly 20,000 people.
The benefits became evident only after two hours and plateaued between three hours 20 minutes and five hours.
It did not matter if it was clocked up in one go or over several shorter trips but being in the garden did not count.
Spending time outside is said to lower stress and blood pressure. But the researchers say it is the first time the length of time needed to help has been identified.
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Prof Terry Hartig, who also worked on the study at Uppsala University in Sweden, said doctors should encourage patients to explore nature.
He added: “There are many reasons why spending time in nature may be good for health and wellbeing.
“This includes getting perspective on life circumstances, reducing stress, and enjoying quality time with friends and family.”
2 Embracing nature with a visit to a park, forest or the beach are thought to have the greatest effect, but chilling your garden doesn’t countCredit: Getty
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