Nature-based activities might improve mood, reduce anxiety: Study

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Outdoor nature-based activities may be effective in improving mental health in adults with pre-existing mental health problems, a new study has found.

New Delhi: Outdoor nature-based activities may be effective in improving mental health in adults with pre-existing mental health problems, a new study has found.


The study findings were published in the journal ‘SSM – Population Health’. Research led by the University of York showed that participating in outdoor, nature-based activities led to improved mood, less anxiety, and positive emotions.
The study found that activities lasting 20 to 90 minutes, lasting 8 to 12 weeks, had the most positive results for improving mood and reducing anxiety.


Activities associated with mental health benefits included gardening and exercise. People were also reported to be involved in conservation activities to make them feel better, as was ‘van snan’ (stay in the forest to take in the atmosphere).


Nature-based interventions (NBIs) help people engage with nature in a structured way to improve mental health.
As part of the study, researchers examined 14,321 NBI records and analyzed 50 studies.


Lead author of the study, Dr Peter Coventry from the Department of Health Sciences, said: “We have known for some time that living in nature is good for health and wellbeing, but our study reinforces growing evidence that nature has things to do. Associated with major benefits in mental health.”


“While doing these activities on your own is effective, the studies we reviewed seem to show greater mental health benefits than doing them in groups,” said Dr. Coventry.


However, the study found that there was little evidence that outdoor activities improved physical health. Research has suggested that there should be more appropriate ways to measure the short- and long-term effects of nature-based activities on physical health.


The study argued that there is a need for substantial, sustained investments in the community and location-based solutions, such as nature-based interventions, that could play a key role in addressing the post-pandemic increase in demand for mental health support.


Dr Coventry said, “One of the key ideas explaining why nature-based activities are good for us is that they help us connect with nature in meaningful ways that go beyond simply observing nature passively. “


This research is part of the new ‘Environment and Health’ research topic supported by the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI). As part of the same theme, Dr Coventry and co-author Professor Piran White are working with partners at the University of Central Lancashire to understand the health benefits of green social prescribing, in a study now funded by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care. are doing. Partnerships.


Academics from the Department of Health Sciences, the Department of Environment and Geography, the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI), Hull York Medical School and the Stockholm Environmental Institute in York contributed to the study. (ANI)

First published:October 12, 2021, 3:48 pm

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