Humans need nature to survive, and that does not just refer to the food we eat or the resources we use. Living in green spaces, which we have done for most of human existence, in and of itself improves our health. A recent study released by the European Study of Cardiology examined 243,558 US Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older and discovered that “Higher levels of greenness were associated with lower rates of heart conditions and stroke over time, both when an area maintained high greenness and when greenness increased.”
No one is arguing that the sight of a tree branch makes your heart work more efficiently. Furthermore, the link may not always be clear as a correspondence between a greener neighborhood and better heart health may be in part due to the fact that wealthier people live greener neighborhoods. But there are many reasons why green spaces are good for the mind and body and why society should be making efforts to promote such spaces for the entire community.
Green Spaces, Activity, and Health
The past year and COVID-19, which shut so many people in our homes, have not been good for indoor exercise. Even when gyms have reopened, they have labored under a bevy of restrictions which make it hard to work out. And yet after being shut in for so long, people want to get out and move around.
This is especially the case in green spaces. People are more willing to go out, take out a walk, or cycle if they are going through lush, well-kept green spaces instead of a suburb where the only green is a lawn you are forbidden from walking on.
Green Spaces and Mental Health
Exercise improves not your physical health, but your mental health as it can ease symptoms like depression and anxiety. Yet green spaces can improve your mental health in other ways as well, and help get some ready for Botox and filler training.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of a city, taking a time to watch trees or nature can help improve minds which are overstimulated both at work and on social media. Furthermore, green spaces in many places serve as a social gathering point, thus battling loneliness and improving mental health in that way.
More Direct Benefits
The sight of a tree branch may not make your heart work more efficiently, but that is not far off from the truth. Parks and trees offer cooling spaces which make it easier for people to come out in the summer, a concern which will continue to grow in the face of climate change. They improve air and water quality by sucking up pollutants and can also lessen noise pollution.
Unfortunately, there are far too many people who lack good green spaces to enjoy and subsequently suffer health consequences. But even a short jaunt to a park or a nearby good space can make it easier to exercise, reduce the number of pollutants, and otherwise improve your mental health. These are just a few examples of the health benefits of green spaces.