News Detail

Peter Kahn is quoted in this PBS article about the benefits of immersion in nature.

How immersing yourself in nature benefits your health


How long does it take to get a dose of nature high enough to make people say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being?

Precisely 120 minutes.

In a study of 20,000 people, a team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. Two hours was a hard boundary: The study, published last June, showed there were no benefits for people who didn’t meet that threshold.

The effects were robust, cutting across different occupations, ethnic groups, people from rich and poor areas, and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

“It’s well-known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and well-being, but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough,” White said. “Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.”

The study by White and his colleagues is only the latest in a rapidly expanding area of research that finds nature has robust effects on people’s health — physically, mentally, and emotionally....

Peter H. Kahn, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington who has worked on these issues for decades, is encouraged by the new focus on the subject but concerned that the growing interest in more contact with nature relies too much on only experiencing it visually. “That’s important, but an impoverished view of what it means to interact with the natural world,” he said. “We need to deepen the forms of interaction with nature and make it more immersive.”

Read the entire article here.