Issues of The Environment: The ‘Nature Pill’ and Its Benefits to Mental Well-Being

Issues of The Environment: The ‘Nature Pill’ and Its Benefits to Mental Well-Being
In these cold, winter months, many of us want to stay indoors.  In this week's. 'Issues of the Environment,' MaryCarol Hunter, Associate Professor of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, tells WEMU's David Fair why an "outdoor pill" has demonstrable benefits.


*   The mental health benefits of time in the outdoors is well documented, but although doctors sometimes prescribe time in nature, it was not clear what the minimal “outdoor pill” would need to be.

*   New research conducted by MaryCarol Hunter at the University of Michigan finds that just ten minutes of exposure to nature, two to three times per week, produces positive mental health benefits. Participants reported having significantly less stress, an improved ability to focus, and an increased satisfaction with their mood and energy levels. Also, benefits were greater in residential landscapes or small parks.

*   MaryCarol’s research could impact city design, as her findings suggest it is important to incorporate open spaces and small parks in dense city settings to offset possible negative health impacts or reduced productivity in dense, tight urban landscapes.*  MaryCarol Hunter is an Associate Professor in the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources.

New research on time outdoors

Intuitively, people know nature is good for them, and research backs that up. But what dosage is needed? Recent studies have explored the duration and frequency of time spent in nature that are necessary to yield health benefits. This research, funded by the TKF Foundation, shows that just 10 minutes…
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