HealthDay News — Spending at least two hours a week in nature may promote health and well-being, according to a study published online June 13 in Scientific Reports.

Mathew P. White, Ph.D., from the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined associations between recreational nature contact in the last seven days and self-reported health and well-being among 19,806 participants in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2014-2015 to 2015-2016).

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The researchers found that when controlling for residential greenspace and other neighborhood and individual factors, the likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being was significantly greater with ≥120 minutes of contact with nature (e.g., 120 to 179 minutes, odds ratios, 1.59 and 1.23 for health and well-being, respectively) compared with no nature contact in the previous week. These positive associations peaked with 200 to 300 minutes of contact per week, with no further gain seen above this range. Findings were similar for older adults and those with long-term health issues. The investigators note that it did not matter if the 120 minutes of weekly nature contact were achieved in one long dose or several shorter visits per week.

“Prospective longitudinal and intervention studies are a critical next step in developing possible weekly nature exposure guidelines comparable to those for physical activity,” the authors write.

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