Lifestyle Benefits of Green Spaces
The world is full of places of breathtaking beauty. Great waterfalls, forests with trees whose trunks dwarf homes and cars and people, rolling hills and gardens, grasses and meadows, lakes and pools and streams.
There is something almost spiritual about nature. It is certainly a place of pure serenity and peace. A light spring breeze that snakes through blossoming trees never fails to bring a content smile to my face.
But sadly, these places of pure, natural bliss are shrinking as development continues to rage across the world. It is of the utmost importance that we do our best to preserve these green spaces, if only to promote our own well-being.
Green spaces are incredibly healthy for us, especially when so much of our time is spent indoors, breathing artificial air, living in artificial spaces.
Here are a list of potential benefits green spaces have to offer.
#1 Stress Reduction
Tons of research has been done on the value of green spaces, and the conclusions are pretty strongly in favor of them.
Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces produces certain chemical patterns in our brains that are indicative of lower stress levels and healthier blood pressure.
Additionally, the peace and quiet that comes with spending time in a green space promotes clearer thinking, allowing you to separate yourself from the daily insanity of your life, which can be a huge help in stress reduction.
Often, our jobs or familial roles are incredibly stressful – having time to be alone and think is often a healthy coping mechanism to these stressors.
Having a green space in or near your neighborhood accomplishes several things at once. For one, it increases the overall attractiveness of your neighborhood; research has found that having a place to walk in nature has become one of the most important factors when choosing a home.
Additionally, green spaces promote greater social interaction and neighbor-neighbor communication, which helps make neighborhoods safer than those that lack greenery.
#3 Physical Health Benefits
On top of promoting healthier blood pressure, spending time in green spaces promotes physical activity, which is imperative in overcoming many health-related problems.
Additionally, research has found that when recovering hospital patients had a view of the landscape, their recovery time experienced a significant reduction.
And, on top of promoting physical activity, spending time in a green space, or even landscaping or gardening, has been found to greatly improve mental health and overall mood.
Something that ties into this is the “immunization effect,” which involves the reduction of a negative reaction to a stressful situation. Spending time in nature can actually reduce your chances of general anger and road rage – nature is calming.
Research has also found that, more specifically for children, a daily incorporation of greenery into their lives has resulted in a reduction of ADD symptoms, which is a great, all natural way to relieve the stress and effects of ADD without taking medication.
#4 Better for Learning
Greenery has also been found to create a better learning environment; students with some level of foliage in their classrooms reported a deep reduction in inattentiveness. Test performance also improved with the presence of plant life.
This is especially beneficial to younger children, as green spaces have proven to improve overall functionality.
Studies have also found a strange link between green spaces and women. Research has shown that when girls spend time in green spaces, their ability to handle peer pressure, sexual pressure, and other challenges, becomes much stronger.
Their performance in school also increased as a result of spending time in green spaces.
Green spaces are also a great way to combat localized air pollution. Air pollution consists of a high concentration of harmful, miniscule particles and gases in the air. Trees and shrubbery accomplish a few things that fight this pollution.
For one, they remove these particles and gases from the air, and in return, release higher levels of oxygen. Those same harmful gases also stick to the leaves, keeping them out of the air.
Basically, having green spaces vastly improves air quality, which is better for the overall health of both humans and the environment.
Green spaces are incredibly and surprisingly impactful, both to humans and to the environment. They are a great, natural way to reduce stress and improve mood and air quality, in addition to the myriad of other things I mentioned.
So, go for a walk through nature. You’ll feel better.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.