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Take a Hike for Health: Small Doses of the Outdoors Make a Big Difference

Take a Hike for Health: Small Doses of the Outdoors Make a Big Difference
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 of exposure to nature, two to three times per week, produces mental-restoration benefits.

Short nature timeouts can happen in small, urban green spaces or one’s backyard. One need not travel beyond the city to visit big parks or wild places.

The research, conducted by MaryCarol Hunter, a professor at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Marc Berman of the University of Chicago, was recently presented at the American Society of Landscape Architects annual meeting.

The work is part of a larger body of research being supported by the TKF Foundation, which has awarded grants to six projects across the country that integrate the design of urban spaces with research on user benefits. All seek to prove the health benefits that green spaces in urban areas offer through contemplation and restoration, so as to inform and influence decision-makers in city design and planning.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve invested in the creation of more than 130 urban green spaces,” said Mary Wyatt, executive director of the TKF Foundation. “Hunter’s and Berman’s initial results confirm the significance of this work and our observations over the past two decades. Our goal is to freely share the results…
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