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Spend this much time in nature weekly to boost your health

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

benefits of spending time in nature

Story at-a-glance -

  • A study published in Scientific Reports explored the associations between contact with nature in the last seven days and self-reported health and well-being
  • Compared to no nature contact, spending 120 minutes or more in nature during the previous week was associated with a greater likelihood of good health or high well-being
  • There were decreasing returns with nature exposure beyond 120 minutes, and the association flattened out and even dropped between 200 and 300 minutes per week
  • It didn’t matter how the 120 minutes were achieved; multiple shorter visits had the same effect as fewer, longer visits, as long as they added up to 120 minutes

In 2018, more than 318.2 million people visited U.S. national parks, logging more than 1.4 billion recreation visitor hours. Their popularity hints at humans’ inherent desire to spend time in natural spaces, and research backs up the benefits, showing that greater exposure to parks and other “green” spaces is associated with better health and well-being.

Taking time to explore national parks is a worthy endeavor to get in your nature fix, but even better may be taking time to explore the natural world on a daily or weekly basis. Is there a magic number when it comes to the ideal amount of time to spend in nature to maximize its benefits to your health?


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