Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why You Should Live Near Green Spaces

The medical community is looking into the greater advantages of eco-therapy. Eco-therapy is the process of improving one’s physical and mental health by doing outdoor activities such as bird watching in the Philippines or elsewhere, gardening, biking, food growing and other such activities that involves nature.

A new study conducted by the University of Exeter Medial School reveals that living within or near eco-friendly areas is a good idea health-wise. Green areas influence not only the physical wellbeing of a person, but also his mental and emotional conditions.

In yet another study published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, living within 1 to 3 kilometers near green spaces reduces the rate of mental and physical illnesses. While the effects can be felt after 12 months of living in that environment, some of the diseases that mostly benefit from these spaces are:

·        Heart and pulmonary diseases,
·        Body pains,
·        Depression, anxiety and stress,
·        Diabetes,
·        Asthma and other respiratory infections,
·        Headache, vertigo and migraine, and
·        Digestive infections.

Why green

You might be wondering why green. Here is the explanation.

Aside from being the color of life and nature, green also symbolizes balance, harmony and growth. Green also has a very strong emotional association with safety. Finally, green is the most relaxing color. Egyptians wear green eyeliners because it is healing for our eyes. The greener the surroundings, the happier and more satisfied the people are.

Further, putting green into your life is a must if you desire balance, growth and change. Green can provide freedom in pursuing new ideas and protecting from anxiety and fear. Green spaces evoke inspiration as well.

As such, living near green spaces endows dwellers with much, much more activities that people who live in less green areas will never experience. According to Operation Groundwork Organisation, the health benefits are as follows:

1.     Increased physical activities for all regardless of age,
2.     Improved mental conditions for all regardless of age,
3.     Reduced anti-social behaviors such as aggression and violence and bullying among children and young people,
4.     Reduced crime incidences, and
5.     Reduced health inequalities.

The Organisation also noted some social benefits of choosing to live where green spaces abound. Well-maintained parks, where people can meet other people, can lead to the development of a sense of belongingness and attachment.

We might as well mention the cultivation of the sense of community among the people. These people will feel responsible in protecting the areas somehow. They think that those areas should be preserved not only because of the benefits that they get from it, but also for posterity’s sake – the children of our children.

Great benefits for our children

People who live nearby parks, for instance, are more physically active. They also feel less stressed and depressed compared to those living in asphalted, concrete areas. This holds true among the children who get to play on environments where kids can be kids. For the parents, on the other hand, this gives them peace of mind, knowing that their children are safe, sound and secure. Not to mention, play is one aspect of our childhood where foundations are built, and that impacts the future.

When playing also, friendships are formed especially among children who get to socialize with other children from different backgrounds thereby bridging socio-economic and cultural divides.

On the contrary, some parents tend to become wary of letting their children play because of the existence of neglected spaces especially those that have dilapidated facilities. These places are perceived as risky. The severe these overgrown spaces look, the riskier they are perceived by the adults.

Nature heals, period. And the more we embark on these kinds of ‘green’ activities, the more we can improve our overall wellbeing. Evidently, the health benefits of living near the trees and bushes and everything else aren’t immediate. While the benefits may be gradual, these are sustainable, so you can expect health improvements in the long run.

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