They found that people who had spent two hours during the week in nature were more likely to say they felt better about their health than those who stayed inside.
Survey respondents reported “good health or high well-being” after spending at least two hours in nature, even controlling for differences in gender, socioeconomic status and location.
“[W]e see our findings as an important starting point for discussions around providing simple, evidence-based recommendations about the amount of time spent in natural settings that could result in meaningful promotion of health and well-being,” the researchers wrote.
They only asked respondents about the previous week, because it's a time period that most people are able to remember clearly. The people surveyed spent their time outdoors doing a variety of activities -- riding horses, playing with their children, exercising or just relaxing.
Dr. White’s survey did not ask people about exercise or physical activity done outdoors, which could be a contributing factor for a sense of well-being.
So if your mom always said "go take a walk outside, you'll feel better," she's was right!
Tiffany Best, M.D., is completing a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry and is working with the ABC News Medical Unit.