By Farah Mahgoub
We all know that spending time outdoors can improve our mood and help us think better, but a new study has found that it can also benefit our health and wellbeing, both mentally and physically.
By reviewing data from the Natural Environment Survey, one of the world’s largest studies on people’s interactions with nature, researchers from the University of Exeter discovered just how much time is needed to be spent in nature in order to experience its health benefits.
Data collected from 20,000 people across England showed that by simply spending 120 minutes in nature per week, health benefits can be experienced regardless of gender, age, income, occupation, and health status.
According to the study, adults living in greener urban areas face lower probabilities of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma hospitalizations, mental distress, and ultimately, mortality, while children face lower risks of obesity and myopia.
Almost half of the participants who spent little or no time outdoors reported low levels of life satisfaction and one in four said they were in poor health. On the other hand, those who spent at least two hours in nature were much more likely to report being in good health, as only one in seven reported poor health.
“One explanation for our findings might be that time spent in nature is a proxy for physical activity, and it is this which is driving the relationship, not nature contact per se,” the report says.
Nonetheless, the report says that more research needs to be done “to understand the impact of different activities undertaken, as well as the effect of environmental quality and personal meaning.”
Luckily, Egypt has plenty of nature reserves, national parks, and camping destinations to fully take advantage of these newly discovered health benefits.