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Motivational Monday-Seven Health Benefits of Green Spaces


The summer months are almost gone. Officially, we have one month left until fall, but with most schools back in session the last few weeks will go in a flash. Have you been getting outside and reaping all the benefits to carry you through the winter months? Perhaps you are living amid a bustling urban environment, yet there are some safe places even in the city that offer access of healthful green spaces. From lush parks to community gardens, or further out lakes and country wooded areas, these natural oases offer more than just a scenic escape. Research has shown that spending time in green spaces can have a profound impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In this blog, we'll explore seven scientifically backed benefits of green spaces for health and happiness.


  1. Stress Reduction: Green spaces have a calming, anti-inflammatory effect on the mind and body. Being surrounded by nature, with its soothing sights and sounds, helps lower stress levels and reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol.

  2. Improved Mental Health: Green spaces are associated with a decreased risk of depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other mental health issues. Spending time in nature has been shown to elevate mood, boost self-esteem, enhance cognitive restoration, attention, focus, concentration, increase feelings of happiness, and reduce mental fatigue.

  3. Physical Health Benefits: Green spaces encourage physical activity, whether it's jogging, cycling, or simply taking a leisurely walk. Regular exercise in nature helps improve cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and supports overall well-being.

  4. Enhanced Immune Function: Spending time in green spaces has been linked to improved immune system function. Exposure to nature may increase the production of natural killer cells, which play a role in defending the body against infections.

  5. Community Connection: In our world that is becoming more and more digital with less interaction, green spaces serve as meeting points for communities, encouraging social interactions and fostering a sense of belonging. Participating in communal activities in natural settings can promote social well-being.

  6. Better Sleep Quality: Spending time in green spaces has been associated with improved sleep quality and duration. Exposure to nature can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and promote a more restful slumber.

  7. Improved Overall Health: Spending time in green spaces has been associated with improvements in cardiovascular health, including reduced blood pressure. Being in nature has a calming effect, which can help lower blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, regular exposure to green spaces has been linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. The combination of physical activity in natural settings and the stress-reducing properties of green spaces contributes to overall health improvement.

Green spaces offer a multitude of benefits, that extend beyond mere aesthetics, from reducing stress and boosting mental health to improving physical well-being and enhancing community connections, reducing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, and potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases. With their stress-reducing properties and positive impact on mental, emotional, and physical well-being, spending time in green spaces is an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Start experiencing the profound therapeutic benefits and impact God has place in nature for our health and wellbeing. Don’t miss out on this essential of health, a daily outdoor experience!


Start a New YOU!® by Embracing Health and Conquering Disease!


References:

Gladwell, V. F., Brown, D. K., Wood, C., Sandercock, G. R., & Barton, J. L. (2013). The great outdoors: How a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2(1), 3. doi:10.1186/2046-7648-2-3

Gascon, M., Triguero-Mas, M., Martínez, D., Dadvand, P., Forns, J., Plasència, A., ... & Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J. (2015). Mental health benefits of long-term exposure to residential green and blue spaces: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(4), 4354-4379. doi:10.3390/ijerph120404354

White, M. P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B. W., Hartig, T., Warber, S. L., ... & Fleming, L. E. (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-11. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3

Li, Q., Morimoto, K., Kobayashi, M., Inagaki, H., Katsumata, M., Hirata, Y., ... & Miyazaki, Y. (2008). A forest bathing trip increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins in female subjects. Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, 22(1), 45-55.

Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02225.x

Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2001). Aggression and violence in the inner city: Effects of environment via mental fatigue. Environment and Behavior, 33(4), 543-571. doi:10.1177/00139160121973124

Grigsby-Toussaint, D. S., Turi, K. N., Krupa, M., Williams, N. J., & Pandi-Perumal, S. R. (2015). Sleep insufficiency and the natural environment: Results from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Preventive Medicine, 78, 78-84. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.07.004

Twohig-Bennett, C., & Jones, A. (2018). The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes. Environmental Research, 166, 628-637. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.030

Han, J., & Lee, J. (2018). Effect of Forest Therapy on Depressive Symptoms among Adults: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(2), 321. doi:10.3390/ijerph15020321

Hartig, T., Mitchell, R., de Vries, S., & Frumkin, H. (2014). Nature and Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 35, 207-228. doi:10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182443

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