Daily exposure to greenery, such as parks and gardens, leads to better overall health, according to a study by University of East Anglia researchers. The study found that spending time in green urban spaces lowered the risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and hypertension. Participants who spent even two hours per week in green spaces had lower levels of overall body fat. The study supports earlier research that indicates living in greener areas leads to a lower risk of early death, better immune function and improved mental health.
Leaf Lovers Rejoice: New Study Finds Daily Exposure Boosts Overall Health
Good news for leaf lovers, a new study has found that daily exposure to leafy green plants and trees can boost overall health. The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia, found that spending time in areas with more greenery was associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The study focused on the benefits of green urban spaces, including parks, gardens, and street trees, and involved surveys of nearly 8,000 people across the UK. Participants were asked to rate their health, as well as the amount of time they spent in green spaces each week.
The results were clear. Those who spent more time in green spaces, even as little as two hours per week, were found to have lower levels of overall body fat, as well as a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The findings were consistent across all age groups, genders, and socioeconomic statuses.
So how exactly does daily exposure to greenery boost overall health? There are several potential mechanisms. First, spending time in nature can help to reduce stress levels, which is known to have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Second, green spaces may encourage physical activity, which is key to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing chronic disease risk. Finally, exposure to nature has been shown to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution, both of which are factors that contribute to poor health outcomes.
This study adds to a growing body of research highlighting the importance of green spaces for improving health outcomes. Previous studies have found that living in areas with more greenery is linked to a lower risk of premature death, improved mental health, and better immune function. For example, a 2018 study by the University of Exeter found that exposure to green spaces can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 25%.
Given the many benefits of green spaces, it’s no surprise that cities around the world are investing in urban greening initiatives. From vertical gardens to green roofs to park expansions, cities are finding innovative ways to incorporate more greenery into urban landscapes. And the benefits go far beyond health – green spaces also help to reduce air pollution, mitigate climate change, and create more livable communities.
Q: Do all types of green spaces have the same health benefits?
A: While the most recent study focused on urban green spaces like parks and street trees, previous research has found that exposure to natural environments like forests and beaches also provides health benefits.
Q: How much time do I need to spend in green spaces to see health benefits?
A: The recent study found that even two hours per week had a positive impact on health outcomes. However, more time is likely better – a 2019 study by the University of Queensland found that spending at least 30 minutes per week in nature was associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.
Q: What if I don’t live near a park or other green space?
A: While it’s ideal to have access to green spaces near your home or workplace, even looking at pictures of nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. If you don’t have access to green spaces, try incorporating more plants into your home or office environment.