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Why Should We Spend At Least 2 Hours A Week In Nature?

In recent years, individuals and scientific-research organizations have done a lot of work to study the impact of nature tourism on human health .

 According to the results, walking in nature seems to be beneficial for both physical and mental health . The latest research has been done by researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK. These researchers wanted to find out how many hours a week we have to go hiking. 

According to the result, this time seems to be at least 120 minutes. Naturally, spending more time will lead to more beneficial results. In the continuation of this article, we will provide you with more details about the results of this research.

How long do we have to go hiking to stay healthy?

Researchers at the university selected a group of 20,000 Britons for their research. They examined the effect of long periods of nature tourism on their physical and mental health; Whether they were hiking in the plains and forests or in urban green spaces. 

As a result of the research, there was no significant change in the health of those who hiked for 119 minutes or less during the week. In contrast, those for whom the time was at least 120 minutes were healthier than others.

Spend 2 hours a week in nature

In this study, a duration longer than 120 minutes was also beneficial for health. For example, those who hiked for 5 hours or more a week were in very good health. This time should not be confused with the ideal time for hiking. This period, according to British researchers, is the minimum time we have to spend in nature to stay healthy.

How do we spend this 120 minutes?

One of the interesting points about the research was that in order to enjoy the effects of nature tourism, it is not necessary to have a continuous duration of 120 minutes. In fact, if these 120 minutes had been spent in a few shorter, separate periods of time, the effect on one’s health would still be apparent.

In part, we read: “We believe that 120 minutes is the minimum amount of time that should be spent in nature to reap the benefits of good health. “Less than this is not enough to improve health, but increasing this time period will have a greater impact.”

The health benefits of two hours of hiking a week can be compared to things like getting enough physical activity during the week. Of course, this does not mean that instead of exercising , we just sit on the park bench for two hours! Rather, each of these activities has its own benefits.

Researchers have concluded that just spending time in nature is good for your health; This means that we will not necessarily need to do sports activities while hiking. Nevertheless, combining the two can be a smart choice.

Health benefits of nature tourism

The health benefits of spending at least 2 hours a week in nature

Last year, a meta-analysis (meta-analysis, in English, means breaking a research into smaller subsets and examining these subsets separately) was done.

 According to the results of this meta-analysis, walking has the following health benefits: reduced stress hormone secretion (cortisol), slower heart rate , reduced risk of cardiovascular disease , lower blood pressure , lower cholesterol , lower risk of type 2 diabetes 2 , reduce the risk of death (regardless of the cause of the disease) and ultimately reduce the risk of death from heart failure .

Some of the results of this meta-analysis were met with criticism, as there were concerns about their quality and validity. Nevertheless, his credible results covered a wide range of different countries and those who were occasionally exposed to nature. These results showed that there is a relationship between improving health and nature tourism.

Hypotheses about the cause of the effect of nature tourism on health

British researchers have proposed two hypotheses about the reason for the effect of nature tourism on improving health. The first hypothesis, called “old friends”, relates to pathogens. Researchers believe that more human exposure to pathogens in nature strengthens the immune system . 

The hypothesis is rooted in the fact that excessive use of antibacterial substances such as soap, and reduced contact with pathogens in recent decades has created problems for human health.

Another hypothesis is that the molecules emitted by trees (phytoncides), in addition to having antibacterial properties, cause more activity of the cells of the immune system .

Concluding remarks

Spend at least 2 hours in nature to reduce the damage of social disorders

The results of research and scientific studies are making more and more clear the social reasons that are harmful to our health. On the other hand, research such as that described in this article can motivate you to prevent and change your behavioral habits .Give us more. 

One of the behavioral habits we should try to make room for in our daily lives is to spend time in nature; Even if nature is limited to the park where we live. As we have seen in the research results, it is suggested that we have a minimum amount of time during the week.

 If we have more time for nature tourism, it will be better and we can enjoy its health benefits. How much of your free time do you usually spend on nature؟

Do you have any experience with the effect of nature on your mood and health? Share your thoughts with us and the readers of this article.