It’s always sweet when something we intuitively know gets verified by science. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that science has found that living near green space is associated with better health, even after controlling for socio-economic factors. So if you have a significant amount of parkland or woods nearby, consider yourself lucky, even if bears or wolves live in them.
According to J Epidemiol Community Health. 2002 Dec;56(12):913-8.- Urban residential environments and senior citizens’ longevity in megacity areas: the importance of walkable green spaces.
Living in areas with walkable green spaces positively influenced the longevity of urban senior citizens independent of their age, sex, marital status, baseline functional status, and socioeconomic status. Greenery filled public areas that are nearby and easy to walk in should be further emphasised in urban planning for the development and re-development of densely populated areas in a megacity. Close collaboration should be undertaken among the health, construction, civil engineering, planning, and other concerned sectors in the context of the healthy urban policy, so as to promote the health of senior citizens.
There are few things as refreshing as going to the park to relieve stress, to observe wildlife, to exercise, to meditate, to get bitten by bugs(not very refreshing unless you’re a masochist) or just to explore. As I always say, the larger the park, the better! Besides beautifying neighborhoods, trees also remove CO2 from the air. This is one of the reasons parkland is so essential for human health.
When it comes to exercise, nothing beats a park. If you don’t like indoor gyms(like me), just bring some resistance bands with you to the local park and you can do a total body workout there, besides of course juggling, running, or joggling around it.
”Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.” -Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
This subject is related to my earlier post – The effects of air pollution on exercise
Whatever you do, try to promote green space wherever you live. Get involved in park activities or community gardens, plant trees, or even start a garden(indoor or outdoors) to help clean the air. Do it for your own health and for the health of your community.