Natural Health News – People visiting parks for 30 minutes or more each week are much less likely to have high blood pressure or mental health problems than those who do not, according to new research by environmental scientists from Australia and the UK.
A study by the University of Queensland (UQ) and the ARC Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) suggests that people may need a minimum of “dose of nature.”
UQ researcher Dr. Danielle Shanahan said CEED parks offer health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing heart disease, stress, anxiety and depression.
“If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour every week there would be a 7% fewer cases of depression and 9% fewer cases of high blood pressure,” she said.
What you need to know
“ An international research effort involving British and Australian scientists has determined that each of us has a “minimum dose” of nature.
“ According to the new study, if everyone visited his local park just half an hour a week would see 7% fewer cases of depression and 9% fewer cases of high blood pressure.
“Given that the social costs of depression alone in Australia is estimated at $ A12.6 (£ 7.2) billion a year, the savings in public health budgets all health outcomes could be immense, “she said.
A dose of nature
UQ CEED Research Associate Richard Fuller said the research could transform the way people saw urban parks.
“We have long known that visiting the parks is good for our health, but we are now starting to establish exactly how long we have to spend in the parks to get these benefits,” he said.
“We have specific evidence we need regular visits for at least half an hour to ensure that you receive these benefits.”
Dr. Shanahan said that 40% percent of residents of Brisbane did not visit a city park in a typical week.
Get children into the habit
How can we encourage people to spend more time in the green space? Shanahan suggests that like most good habits we need to start when we are young.
“We need more support and encouragement of community activities in natural areas.
” For example, nature programs Play in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia provided plenty ideas to help children enjoy life outdoors.
“Our children are specifically for the benefit of spending more time outdoors. Children who grow up experiencing natural environments can benefit from development and have a greater environmental awareness as adults than those who do not.”
The research is published in Nature scientific reports .