Discover the Positive Connections Between Green Spaces and Longer Life
Did you know that there is such a thing as “forest bathing?” This concept, also called shinrin-yoku, was developed in Japan in the 1980s because researches have established a lot of health benefits when a person spends time with trees.
Correspondingly, a 2016 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health on 10,000 women found that those living in areas with higher levels of green vegetation had lower mortality rates. The respondents who had homes in areas with the highest level of greenness (in the surrounding 250 meters) were found to have a 12% lower death rate, 35% lower respiratory-disease-related mortality, and 41% lower rate for kidney disease mortality than those whose homes had the lowest level of greenness.
According to the research, there are combinations of factors that came into play: lower levels of depression, increased social engagement, higher levels of physical activity, and lower levels of pollution.
Here are some notable findings that may help us understand better why we need to spend more time in green spaces:
- People who live in greener areas are more likely to go outside. Thus, they get exposed to more sunlight and produce more vitamin D, having low levels of which are associated with depression.
- Spending time with friends and joining social activities associated with greener areas can decrease feelings of loneliness.
- Being outside and experiencing nature has been known to increase feelings of wellbeing. In addition, there are studies that suggest even images of nature can boost the mood positively.
- Green spaces entice people to enjoy the outdoors more through walking, biking, or jogging. Since exercise is linked to living a healthier life, the more physically active people are, the more fit they will be.
- Areas with lots of trees, plants, flowers, and grass makes the environment less polluted because vegetation reduces levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (very small particles and liquid droplets that can adversely affect health when inhaled). Plants help to clean the air around us and we all know that breathing clean air matters.
If you live in an area that has very few or no green spaces, here are some suggestions that may help you improve your health:
- Start cultivating a small garden or plant herbs and vegetables in pots that can be placed on windowsills or small balconies.
- Get involved with your local government’s policy to encourage people in the community to increase green spaces
- Consciously seek out green areas as often as possible such as visiting a park regularly.
- Consider vacationing in areas with a lot of vegetation.
At Nurture Wellness Village, guests not only get to enjoy delicious food prepared with healthy ingredients; they also love appreciating the wonders of nature that is very abundant in the area. Come and schedule to visit us this month!