If you are thinking of starting a family and live in a big metropolis you might want to consider moving somewhere greener. Susana Victoria Perez has more.
At least that much time a day spent outside that can help reduce stress hormone levels, according to a new study.
The study, completed by University of Michigan researchers, MaryCarol Hunter, Brenda Gillespie and Sophie Yu-Pu Chen, was released Thursday. It concluded that an efficient “nature pill” — 20 to 30 minutes walking, sitting or completing a physical activity outside or interacting with nature — can reduce health issues such as chronic stress, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease and weight.
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Hunter said the study was developed for health care practitioners to utilize when giving patients a “nature-pill prescription.”
“For a while, people have been trying to put a number on how much nature is needed,” Hunter told the Free Press Thursday. “Health care professionals have different answers.”
About 44 people from Ann Arbor participated in an eight-week summer study in June 2014 and had a nature experience three times a week.
Hunter said the participants were allowed to decide what they did and where they went to be in tune with nature. She, Chen and Gillespie concluded 20 minutes because statistics showed a graduate decrease in stress. But they also noticed a dramatic decrease in stress after an additional 10 minutes.
“Thirty minutes is the ideal time for the greatest stress reduction. But 20 minutes is sufficient,” she said.
The biggest challenge for people is commitment, Hunter said, and choosing to stop what they’re doing to enjoy the outdoors for 20 minutes a day. But Hunter said any time away from busy schedules and cellphones can improve an individual’s health.
“Start with five minutes and see where it takes you,” she said.
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