Giving Compass' Take:

• In this story from Time, author Jamie Ducharme discusses recent research which suggests that spending time outside, particular in green spaces, offers numerous physical and mental health benefits.

• How can health advocates promote green spaces? What other nonprofit organizations and causes might be able to make use of green spaces in their work?

• To learn how office green spaces can improve employee engagement, click here.

Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health. Some research even suggests that green space is associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders — all findings that doctors are increasingly taking seriously and relaying to their patients.

Now, a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research adds to the evidence and shows just how little time it takes to get the benefits of being outside. Spending just 20 minutes in a park ... is enough to improve well-being, according to the research.

Physical activity was not necessary to increase well-being, the study authors found, even though plenty of research suggests that exercise is great for mental health, particularly when it’s done outside. For many people in the study, simply being in green space seemed to be enough to spark a change, says study co-author Hon Yuen, director of research in the occupational therapy department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Some people may go to the park and just enjoy nature. It’s not that they have to be rigorous in terms of exercise,” Yuen says. “You relax and reduce stress, and then you feel more happy.” The medical community is increasingly viewing green space as a place for their patients to reap physical and mental health benefits.

Read the full article about green spaces by Jamie Ducharme at Time