Research shows: yes, 120 minutes a week in nature benefits many aspects of health

Gasparilla Island, SW Florida — photo by author

Cognitive Function and Brain Activity

Have you heard of the term “executive functioning?” In psychology, executive functioning refers to the ability of our brain to manage the things we need to handle: setting goals, planning, and getting things done.

Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Health

Nature is so good for our blood pressure and heart health that some psychologists are even using the term “Forest Therapy” to describe its relaxing effects. A 2018 study of patients at a Louisville, Kentucky heart clinic showed that out of hundreds of patients, the ones who lived in greener areas healed more quickly and had lower blood pressure than the patients who lived in more urban areas lacking trees and grass.

Mental Health

In 2019, researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK studied 20,000 people from throughout Great Britain and Europe. The study showed that if people spent 120 minutes in nature or more each week, they had better psychological health, were happier, and had less anxiety than those who spent less than 120 minutes. The two-hour amount of nature time was a real boundary, according to the research. If people spent less than two hours, they didn’t share the mental health boost the people who spent more time outdoors received.


Scientists now recognize that our gut microbiome is an organ like our heart, kidneys or liver. The microbiome plays such an important, complex role to benefit (or harm) our bodies, minds, and even spirit.

Other Ways to Strengthen Health

The many benefits of being in nature made me think of other ways we can benefit our health. I recently took a fun stretch limo trip with about 50 of my friends. Traveling with a friendly, happy group is more relaxing and enjoyable than traveling alone.