Rx for Better Health: Take 2 Hours Outside

Author: Curt Wagner       

outdoors

Participants at the 2017 Global Professionals Conference APAC in Bangkok, Thailand, got a bit of nature when they did a team-building exercise that involved planting rice. (Courtesy PCMA)

Rafts of research shows that spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, results in better health, but thanks to a new study people now know just how much nature time the doctor orders — and events can easily provide some or all of that dosage.

New research published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that 120 minutes each week of outdoor time “is associated with good health and well-being.”

The New York Times reports that the study examined data from almost 20,000 people in England who took part in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey from 2014 to 2016. Results from the survey, which asked participants to record their activities for one week, found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.

Spending less time outside did not have as profound an effect, and bumping up to five hours a week in nature didn’t provide increased benefits, the study found.

While events may not be able to offer a full two hours of nature time to attendees, one or two well-located breaks a day, lunch in an open-air venue, or an education session scheduled outside would help them reach the 120 minutes prescribed. The results also underscore the health value of holding events in walkable destinations.

Sitting in an outdoor session might remind attendees of their days back in school when the teacher held class outside, and there are learning benefits to the setting as well. As author Daniel Pink writes in When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, people retain information better when they learn in an outdoor setting. (Pink talked about this with Convene.)

Pink’s insights inspired Kara Brockman, CAE, DES, education manager at PCMA, to schedule three outdoor sessions at the 2019 Education Conference in Los Angeles.

“I thought we could apply that to education at our conference to see how it goes,” Brockman told Convene. “It’s an experiment and we hope people like it. We always try to do something a little different at EduCon.”

On the second day of the June 26–28 conference, attendees will be able to participate in three sessions — each offered at two separate times — in a space outside the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. Other sessions will be offered at the same times indoors for those who don’t want to get some extra sun.

All three sessions, which last 30 minutes each, are listed below.

Outdoor Education Sessions at PCMA’s EduCon

  • Embrace Intentional Leadership to Energize Your Team
    1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Thursday, June 27 (repeats 2 p.m.)
  • Staying Fit & Fueled on the Road and in the Office
    1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Thursday, June 27 (repeats 2 p.m.)
  • F-Stage: Reframing Failure with a Focus on Success (Round 1)
    1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Thursday, June 27 (Round 2 at 3 p.m.)