In Your Backyard: Nature as Healer

Eagle Heights Woods, Lakeshore Nature Preserve

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. During this stressful time don’t forget to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. One way you can do this is to spend time in nature (while practicing social distancing!)

A 2019 study by a team of researchers from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter found that people who spend 2 hours (just 120 minutes!) per week in “green spaces”—local parks or other natural environments—were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. They also found that it didn’t matter how the 2 hours was achieved (e.g. one long versus several short visits over the week). People who spent less than 2 hours in green spaces did not reap benefits, and the positive associations peaked at 200-300 minutes per week. The study looked at nearly 20,000 people, and the benefits came even for older adults and those with long-term health issues.

Nature is just steps away in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, with 12 miles of trails. Take a walk or find a quiet place to sit and reap the benefits of better health and well-being.