(YAHOO) – The idea that spending recreational time in natural settings is good for our health and wellbeing is hardly new. Parents have been telling their kids to “go play outside, it’s good for you” for generations. Now, colleagues and I have published a study in the journal Scientific Reports which suggests that a dose of nature of just two hours a week is associated with better health and psychological wellbeing, a figure that applies to every demographic we could think of (at least in England).
So why do we need research into this? Although our parents’ common sense observation is true in the general sense, the devil – as always – is in the detail. For instance, it’s less intuitively obvious exactly how much time in nature we need before we experience the benefits, whether we can have “too much of a good thing”, whether it’s better to have lots of smaller encounters or one big one, whether parks, beaches and mountains offer similar benefits, or whether nature exposure is more important for some people than others.