Fend Off Depression by Spending Time With Nature - Dispatch Weekly

June 26, 2016 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Competition, social issues, and even our lifestyle have made us more prone to psychological issues and conditions including depression and while there are medical remedies for such issues, there are non-medical way outs as well.

Spending time with nature has been pegged as one of the best remedy for depression with even a few minutes of walk in the woods each week is said to help reduce depression and high blood pressure while enhancing mental health. According to a new study people who made long visits to green spaces had lower rates of depression and high blood pressure and those who visited more frequently had greater social cohesion.

Visits to outdoor green spaces of 30 minutes or more during the course of a week could reduce the prevalence of depression by up to 7 per cent and high blood pressure by 9 per cent. Further, spending more time outdoors may especially benefit children.

“Kids who grow up experiencing natural environments may benefit developmentally and have a heightened environmental awareness as adults than those who don’t,” said lead researcher Danielle Shanahan from University of Queensland in Australia.

Visiting parks has been long known to be good for our health, but there has been almost no guidance on how much or how frequently people need to engage with nature, and what types or characteristics of nature need to be incorporated in cities for the best health outcomes.

“The study finds specific evidence that we need regular visits of at least half an hour to ensure we get these benefits,” added Richard Fuller, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland.

More support and encouragement of community activities in natural spaces would encourage people to spend more time in green space, the paper suggested. The study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, examines the associations between the duration, frequency and intensity of exposure to nature and health in an urban population.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.