People who spend at least 30 minutes each week by taking a walk in the woods or parks are less likely to suffer from depression and high blood pressure, says a new study.
The findings showed that people who made long visits to green spaces had lower rates of depression and high blood pressure and those who visited more frequently had greater social cohesion.
‘Spend more time in green spaces by visiting a park to reduce the rates of depression and high blood pressure.’
Visits to outdoor green spaces of 30 minutes or more during the course of a week could reduce the prevalence of depression by up to 7 percent and high blood pressure by 9 percent.
Further, spending more time outdoors may especially benefit children.
"Kids who grow up experiencing natural environments may benefit developmentally and have a heightened environmental awareness as adults than those who don't," said lead researcher Danielle Shanahan from University of Queensland in Australia.
Visiting parks has been long known to be good for our health, but there has been almost no guidance on how much or how frequently people need to engage with nature, and what types or characteristics of nature need to be incorporated in cities for the best health outcomes.
"The study finds specific evidence that we need regular visits of at least half an hour to ensure we get these benefits," added Richard Fuller, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland.
More support and encouragement of community activities in natural spaces would encourage people to spend more time in green space, the paper suggested.
The study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports
, examines the associations between the duration, frequency and intensity of exposure to nature and health in an urban population.