SSM Health: 20 minutes outside each day can dramatically improve health

MADISON, Wis. —  From lower blood pressure to better sleep and a stronger immune system, we know that spending time outside is good for us. As the family schedule ramps up, it can be challenging to get outdoors together, but SSM Health Physician Roopa Shah is breaking down how much time you truly need to see a positive effect.

“It can be really tough to get outside every day due to the responsibilities we have, or the weather here in Wisconsin,” says Shah, “but there was a recent research study done in the UK in 2019 that looked at the benefits of being outside in Nature, and they looked at about 20,000 participants. What they found was the folks that spent a minimum of 120 minutes per week really had the most beneficial effects on their health and their wellbeing. So if we break this down to seven days in a week, this comes out to about 20 minutes per day. So if we could all aim for 15 to 20 minutes a day, this could have really important health benefits.”

Dr. Shah says some of her favorite ways to get families outside include Frisbee or soccer in the yard or park, hiking trails, or even sitting outside and chatting about the day. What matters most is being outdoors, soaking up the sun and fresh air as a family.

Our time for kids: Keys to Health team is asking what you want to hear about. Let us know what health topics you’re interested in, or share your family’s health story with us, online at ssmhealth.com/timeforkids.