20 Minutes in Nature a Day Is Your Ticket to Feeling Better

People enjoy spring weather and crocus flowers at an urban park in Düsseldorf, Germany. Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

自然舒缓我们的压力重重的灵魂。我们本能地知道nature is the best prescription, but research is revealing how little time we need to set aside to reap the benefits.

In one study, publishedin the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tried to identify the most effective "dose" of nature within the context of normal daily life. As more doctors prescribe nature experiences for stress relief and other health benefits — sometimes referred to as a "nature pill" — the study's authors hoped to clarify the details of these treatments. Morebiophiliais generally better for us, but since not everyone can spend all day in deep wilderness, the study looked for a sweet spot.

"We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us," says lead author MaryCarol Hunter, an associate professor at the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability, in a声明。"Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature."

A nature pill can be a low-cost, low-risk way to curb the negative health effects of urbanization and indoor lifestyles. To find the most efficient dosage, Hunter and her co-authors asked 36 city dwellers to have nature experiences of at least 10 minutes three times per week over eight weeks. (A nature experience was defined as "anywhere outside that, in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they've interacted with nature," Hunter explains.) Every two weeks, the researchers collected saliva samples to measure levels of the stress hormone cortisol, both before and after the participants took their nature pill.

The data showed that just a 20-minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. The effect was most efficient between 20 to 30 minutes, after which benefits continued to accrue but at a slower rate. Researchers in the United Kingdom who analyzed the routines of roughly 20,000 people came up with a similar prescription:2小时周总在公园或林地环境花费会改善你的健康。

Nature time doesn't have to mean exercise, either

Those results dovetail with the findings of other studies, one of which found that spending 20 minutes in an urban park can make you happier, regardless of whether you use that time to exercise. That study waspublished in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research,

“总的来说,我们发现公园游人报道入园参观后在情感福祉的改善“主要作者,阿拉巴马大学伯明翰分校的教授汉K.玄在一份声明中说,”然而,我们没有发现身体活动水平与改善情绪福祉。取而代之的是,我们发现在公园花时间与改善情绪的福祉“。

For this study, 94 adults visited three urban parks in Mountain Brook, Alabama, completing a questionnaire about their subjective well-being before and after their visit. An accelerometer tracked their physical activity. A visit lasting between 20 and 25 minutes demonstrated the best results, with a roughly 64 percent increase in the participants' self-reported well-being, even if they didn't move a great deal in the park. That last point is particularly positive, since it means most anyone can benefit from visiting a nearby park, regardless of age or physical ability.

The study's co-author and another UAB professor, Gavin Jenkins, acknowledges the study pool was small, but its findings illustrate the importance of urban parks.

"There is increasing pressure on green space within urban settings," Jenkins said in the statement. "Planners and developers look to replace green space with residential and commercial property. The challenge facing cities is that there is an increasing evidence about the value of city parks but we continue to see the demise of theses spaces."

发表在另一次审查心理学前沿研究人员在美国康奈尔大学研究14项研究,着重对自然对大学生的影响的结果。他们发现,你甚至不需要整整20分钟,收获的一些户外时间的好处。研究显示,只需10-20分钟,或坐或走在本质上可以帮助大学生感到更快乐,少强调。

“这并不需要太多的时间正面效益踢,”主要作者艮梅雷迪思,在兽医学院公共卫生硕士课程的副主任和讲师表示,一份声明。“我们坚信每一个学生,不管what subject or how high their workload, has that much discretionary time each day, or at least a few times per week.”

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new information since it was originally published in February 2019.