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July 8, 2020 by RiverSearch Outdoor Adventure

Benefits of Green Spaces

We’ve all likely read about the many health benefits of hiking, which shows that spending time in nature is good for you. But even if you can’t escape the city, spending time in local parks and urban green spaces can still offer a number of great health benefits. Here we will take a look at 24 scientific studies showing how green space is good for you.

Longevity
Living in areas with walkable green spaces positively influenced the longevity of urban senior citizens independent of their age, sex, marital status, baseline functional status, and socioeconomic status. [1]
Cognitive Development
One study found improvement in cognitive development associated with surrounding greenness, particularly with greenness at schools. [2]
ADHD Symptoms
Children with ADHD who play regularly in green play settings have milder symptoms than children who play in built outdoor and indoor settings. [3]

Perceived Mental Health & General Health

One systematic review showed strong evidence for significant positive associations between the quantity of green space and perceived mental health and all-cause mortality, and moderate evidence for an association with perceived general health.[4]
Perceived Stress & General Health
One study found that respondents with a high amount of green space in a 3-km radius were less affected by experiencing a stressful life event than respondents with a low amount of green space in this radius. The same pattern was observed for perceived mental health, although it was marginally significant.[5]
Social & Psychological Benefits
One review examining multiple studies found some of the most important benefits of green spaces in a city are the social and psychological benefits. Urban green spaces provide resources for relaxation and recreation. This helps in emotional healing (therapeutic) and physical relaxation.[6]
Perceived General Health
Researchers found that the percentage of green space in people’s living environment has a positive association with the perceived general health of residents.[7]
Loneliness
One study showed less green space in people’s living environment coincided with feelings of loneliness and with perceived shortage of social support.[8]
Stress
One study found that respondents living more than 1 km away from a green space have 1.42 higher odds of experiencing stress than do respondents living less than 300 m from a green space. Respondents who did not report stress were more likely to visit a green space than respondents reporting stress.[9]
Physical Health, Mental Health, & Longevity
Descriptive epidemiological research has shown a positive relationship between the amount of green space in the living environment and physical and mental health and longevity. [10]
Self Esteem & Stress
One study found that physical exercise while being exposed to nature had a positive effect on self-esteem and mood. [11]
Depression, Anxiety, & Stress
One study examining environmental green space and mental health outcomes found that higher levels of neighborhood green space were associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. [12]
Anxiety Disorders
Researchers conducted an ecological study to investigate urban green space and mental health and found that a shorter distance from use-able green space and increased proportion of green space in urban environments was associated with decreased anxiety disorder treatment counts.[13]
General Health
One study that examined mortality records, income deprivation, and green space concluded that populations exposed to the greenest environments had the lowest levels of health inequality related to income deprivation.[14]
Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers conducted a cohort study examining distance and use of urban green space and cardiovascular diseases. The study concluded that cardiovascular risk factors were lowest among park users than non-users. It was also found that an increase in distance from green space was related to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. [15]
Depression
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that greater access to green space is associated with less depression. [16]
Mental Health
Researchers examined how moving to greener or less green areas may affect mental health and found that greener urban areas were associated with mental health improvements. [17]
Lower Negative Noise
A systematic review was conducted on how urban green space may buffer noise pollution and found that there was moderate evidence that the presence of vegetation can reduce the negative perception of noise. [18]
Better Health
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that a higher proportion of green space was associated with better health. [19]
Health
Researchers examined studies of the impact of green space on a variety of health outcomes and found that green space exposure has been associated with a wide variety of health benefits. [20]
Blood Pressure & Stress
A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that participants who walked in a nature reserve showed blood pressure change that indicated a greater stress reduction than those that walked in an urban setting . [21]
Physical Activity
One study found that those who lived closest to green space were more likely to achieve the recommended physical activity level and less likely to be overweight. [22]
Temperature & Humidity
Researchers in Singapore examined the cooling effect of the city’s green spaces and found that the vegetated areas had a remarkable cooling effect of the surrounding areas. [23]
Air Pollution
A study published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening used modeling to demonstrate that urban trees remove a large amount of air pollution and improve urban air quality. [24]

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