Two Hours In Nature A Week Could Improve Your Health, Study Says

It's a simple goal to improve your lifestyle.

Research is mounting that the more exposure someone has to natural environments the more likely they are to have better health and well-being. 

A new study published in Scientific Reports said that "living in greener urban areas is associated with lower probabilities of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma hospitalization, mental distress and ultimately mortality" among adults. The study focused on people urbanized, high-income areas, but fleshed out results across income and health spectrums.,

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The study, which took place in the UK and included interviews with 20,000 people, found that spending two hours in nature a week will have a positive mental and physical effects on someone. Nature was defined as woodlands, parks, beaches and green spaces. Of the people interviewed for the study who had not spent time in natural spaces in the last week, nearly half said they had low levels of satisfaction about their life and one in four described themselves as being in poor health. Just one in seven of the people who had spent at least two hours in contact with nature over the previous week reported poor health.

"The thing that most surprised us was how consistent this was across nearly all the groups we looked at: young and old, male, female, urban and rural dwellers, those in deprived versus rich neighborhoods, but perhaps most importantly among those with long-standing illnesses or disabilities," Mathew White, who led the study, told CNN.

White emphasized that the study didn't just reveal healthy people are going to natural spaces more.

"We were worried our effect was just that healthier people visited nature but this finding suggested even people with known illnesses who did manage to get two hours a week in nature fared better," he added.

Even more, the study found that the way someone spent those two hours in natural spaces was irrelevant. You could do it all in one trip or space the time out over several days — all that mattered was that someone was spending a minimum of two hours in nature. 

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