I have always wondered what effects nature had on your health. Being from Pennsylvania where rolling green hills reign supreme, coming to Utah was a shock to my system. The simple drive from Salt Lake City to Provo made me feel deprived of the green foliage I was accustomed to from the East. Fortunately, the beautiful mountains made up for what my body was denied in greenery.
According to a study, just 5 minutes doing something in the park, in the woods, or even in your backyard can boost mental health. Humans have a deep-seated need for contact with nature, which researchers theorize provides relaxing time for a brain that is otherwise overtaxed by modern pressures. No wonder that we crave the beach, the mountains, or just solitude in the wilderness from civilization.
Below is an article that speaks of how nature can help close the gap between the rich and poor.
Study Finds Access to Nature Improves Health
Proof at last: living near parks and woodland boosts health, regardless of social class. Access to green spaces, whether they be rolling chalk downs or simple playing fields, has an independently beneficial impact on health and health-related behaviour which counteracts the effects of poverty and inner-city deprivation, the research by scientists found.
The links between serious illnesses and poverty are well established, but this is the first time scientists have systematically shown that the health gap between rich and poor can be halved with the help of green spaces.
When all deaths were analysed, the gulf in health between the rich and the poor in the greenest areas of Britain was roughly half of that observed in the least green parts of the country, according to the findings published in the medical journal The Lancet.
The difference between those living in the greenest and least green areas was largest when looking at deaths from circulatory diseases.
However, the scientists found that living near green space had little effect for death from lung cancer, which is only weakly linked with exercise; or for death by self-harming.
The authors of the study, Richard Mitchell, of Glasgow University, and Frank Popham, of the University of St Andrews, believe that the findings are strong enough for planning authorities to consider making green spaces available on grounds of health and wellbeing.
“Populations that are exposed to the greenest environments have the lowest levels of health inequality related to income deprivation,” they said.
“Evidence suggests that contact with such environments has independent salutogenic effects, for example, green spaces independently promote physical activity.
“However, the effect of green space is not solely based on promotion or enhancement of physical activity. Several studies have shown that contact (either by presence or visual) with green spaces can by psychologically and physiologically restorative, reducing blood pressure and stress levels and possibly promoting faster healing in patients after surgical intervention.”
They conclude: “The implications of this study are clear: environments that promote good health might be crucial in the fight to reduce health inequalities.”