Spending 30 Mins Per Week With Nature Can Reduce Depression

How spending just 30 minutes per week outside with nature can improve your mental health.

Spending 30 Mins Per Week With Nature Can Reduce Depression

by Charlotte Davey |
Published on

The tail-end of the Baby Boomer generation on Facebook (Or FaceTube, as your Dad probably calls it) seem to love sharing posts bemoaning how Kids These Days (presumably anyone under 30) never go outside anymore: 'Remember when young people used to play with puddles not playstations?!? Like and share if u agree!!!'. Cue an eye roll at the nostalgic sepia photo of children frolicking outdoors before scrolling past and spending an enjoyable afternoon indoors taking quizes to find out which vegetable you most identify with. But perhaps they have a point. Maybe things were better when we spent more time outdoors.

Recently, a study in Australia has shown that spending time outside can significantly benefit physical and mental health. Spending just 30 minutes a week with nature can reduce rates of depression and high blood pressure. The researchers highlighted how increasing urbanisation has led to cities becoming 'epicentres for chronic, non-communicable physical and mental health conditions'. However, they explain that green spaces are crucial in combatting the health threats that our urban lifestyle poses. They found that if people visited outdoor, green spaces for 30 minutes or more, at least once a week, the prevalence of high blood pressure in a community could be reduced by 9% and depression by 7%. It was also discovered that spending time with nature improves social cohesion through increasaed contact with the community. We can back these guys up here - in the countryside if you say hello to a dog walker, they will smile and return your greeting; greeting a total stranger on a pavement in London, however, will probably elicit a result similar in disgust to if you'd just pushed their dog under a bus (moving from the countryside to the big smoke teaches you this the hard way).

The benefits of green spaces are undeniable, and almost certainly linked to the fact that many city dwellers use parks to exercise in. Enjoying sunshine and fresh air is surely more appealing than a glowing blue screen and air con. One in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year in the UK, and research has found that while London's depression rate is 8% of the population, in Islington it is a worrying 13%. Pop a jacket on guys, it's time to go outside.

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Follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlotteDuvet

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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