Wednesday 3 July 2019

Being at One with Nature for 2 Hours a Week Boosts Your Health

The following article, written by Rod Minchin and quoted in full from the i newspaper of Friday 14th June 2019, supports what we have felt all along. It is a privilege to share such moments of communal silence in surroundings which occasionally gives us superb wolf sightings, but also often presents us with fascinating scenarios from the natural world. In a world where so many have so much stress in their everyday lives, we recognise the importance of retaining just a little bit of the Sierra de la Culebra in those mental back burners.

" Being at one with nature for two hours a week boosts health.

by Rod Minchin.

Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold  for promoting health and wellbeing according to a study.

Researchers found that people who spend 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well being than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week.

The time spent in natural settings, such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches can be spread out over short bursts during the week or one longer visit - both will still have the same benefit, providing the amount adds up to at least two hours.

Experts say that taking a walk in the woods, listening to birdsong, looking around and engaging with nature lowers stress and blood pressure.

Last year NHS Shetland became the first organisation to start prescribing nature walks to patients.

The University of Exeter-led survey used data from nearly 20,000 people in England. It found that the 120 minute threshold applied to both women and men, older and younger adults, across different occupational and ethnic groups, among those living in both rich and poor areas, and even among people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                        Study leader Dr Mat White said, "It's well-know getting outdoors in nature can be good for people's health and well-being, but until now we've
not been able to say how much is enough."

The majority of nature visits took place within two miles of home,so even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing. Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target.."

The data for the current research came from Natural England's Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey, the worlds largest study of its kind.

Co-author, Professor Terry Hartig, of Uppsala University, Sweden, said,"There are many reasons it may be good, including getting perspective on life circumstances, reducing stress and enjoying quality time with friends and family."

Margaret writing from Sierra de la Culebra - Nature's very own mental FitBit!

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