Fit over 50 Update — Time Outside

In my and Dr. Philip Bishop’s book, “Fit over 50: Make Simple Choices Today for a Healthier, Happier You,” we have an entire tip (#6 — Get Outdoors [page 121]) in which we reveal the amazing health benefits of getting outside. We tell our readers about Japanese researchers who are describing “shinrin-yoku,” which means “tak ing in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing,” as “the practice of spending time in a forested area in an effort to reap wellness rewards.

But how much nature is enough? It turns out recent research says “120 minutes a week.”

According to a recent report in the New York Times, “The study examined data from nearly 20,000 people in England who took part in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey from 2014 to 2016, which asked them to record their activities within the past week.

It found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.

Spending just 60 or 90 minutes in nature did not have as significant an effect.

And five hours a week in nature offered no additional health benefits. It did not matter how close people lived to recreational spaces or how often they frequented them, as long as they accumulated two hours of outdoor time by the end of the week.

What if you can’t do 120 minutes a week. As we point out in our book:

Research indicates that just 5 minutes outside boosts your mood. Nature walks have memory-promoting effects. Being in nature reduces stress, fatigue, and anxiousness. One study found that spending 20 minutes outside is equivalent to a cup of coffee relative to energy.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American spends 93 percent of their day inside (87 percent indoors; 6 percent in an automobile).

For followers of Jesus, these data should be no surprise. Dr. J. Nick Pitts has wisely pointed out, “As those who have eyes to see, nature reminds us that we have a purpose in this life, a Provider during this life, and a Sustainer throughout this life (Psalm 8:1-9; Matthew 6:25-34; Colossians 1:15-17). . Nature makes us happier because the very rocks will cry out about the one who died to make us more than happy (Luke 19:40).”

As those who have eyes to see, nature reminds us that we have a purpose in life, a provider during this life, and a sustainer throughout life. (Ps. 8, Matt. 6:25-34, Col. 1:15-17)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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