Living around Nature Could Help You Live Longer

loc picA new research study suggests living closer to nature is good for your health. A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people living in greener areas have a lower risk of mortality. This is likely due to the health benefits such as improved mental health, social engagement, and physical activity that are associated with living near green areas.

Researchers used satellite data to assess the amount of green vegetation surrounding each participant’s home and compared this data to participant health data between 2000 and 2008. They found that the people living in the greenest places ( areas where there is the most vegetation within 800 feet of their homes), regardless of individual’s income, weight, or smoking status, had 12% lower rates of mortality than people living in less green areas. This relationship was strongest when the deaths were due to respiratory disease, cancer, and kidney disease.

Places with more vegetation close by are thought to be less polluted and have cleaner air, helping improve the quality of health in individuals. Also these spaces encourage outdoor exercise and social engagement, further improving physical and mental health. More research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms by which exposure to nature can improve health.

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