Outdoor nature-based activities are effective for improving mental health in adults, including those with pre-existing mental health problems, a new study has found.
The research – led by the University of York – showed that taking part in outdoor, nature-based activities led to improved mood, less anxiety, and positive emotions.
The study found that activities lasting for 20 to 90 minutes, sustained for over the course of 8 to 12 weeks, have the most positive outcomes for improving mood and reducing anxiety.
Gardening and exercise were among the activities associated with mental health benefits. Engaging in conservation activities was also reported to make people feel better, as did ‘forest bathing’ (stopping in a forest to take in the atmosphere).
Nature-based interventions (NBIs) support people to engage with nature in a structured way to improve mental health.
As part of the study, researchers screened 14,321 NBI records and analysed 50 studies.
Lead author of the study, Dr Peter Coventry from the Department of Health Sciences, said: “We’ve known for some time that being in nature is good for health and wellbeing, but our study reinforces the growing evidence that doing things in nature is associated with large gains in mental health.
“While doing these activities on your own is effective, among the studies we reviewed it seems that doing them in groups led to greater gains in mental health.”
Read more: https://neurosciencenews.com/nature-activity-mental-health-19437/