Perk up your life expectancy with a regular trip to the park

Using a park or allotment or simply getting out into your garden helps you live longer suggests study.

The next time you are out and about in the fresh air give yourself a healthy pat on the back as you are increasing your life span dramatically. But spare a thought for those who are cooped up or stranded in the urban jungle as a study by the Harvard University has found they have an eighth (12 percent) higher death rate than those with access to green spaces.

The study which explored the link between high amounts of vegetation and mortality rates also found that women in the greenest areas had a 34 per cent lower rate of repiratory disease-related mortality and a 13 per cnet lower rate of cancer mortality.

So what is it about getting outdoors that increases our lives longevity? Along with being active and breathing in less air pollution, also suprising, less noise pollution also contributes in reducing death rates. Also, using public green spaces reduces depression and boots mental well-being by making it easier for isolated people to meet others, exercise and generally take some much needed time out.

Green spaces was estimated in the study to explain nearly 30 per cent of the benefit from living around greater vegetation for mental health.

Dr Peter James, a research assosciate at Harvard Chan School or
Public Health in the US, said: “We were suprised to observe such strong
associations between increased exposure to greenness and lower mortality
rates.

“We were even more surprised to find evidence that a large
proportion of the benefit from high levels of vegetation seems to be
connected with improved mental health.”

The study was conducted with data from 108,630 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and compared the participant’s risks of mortality with the level of vegetation surrounding their homes, which was calculated using satellite imagery from different seasons and from different years.

Dr James added: “Our new findings suggest a potential co-benefit- improving health – that presents planners, landscape architects and policy makes with an actional tool to grow healthier places.”

So, Housetohome suggests that this weekend you move away from your desk or turn off the TV for a few hours and get out to a green space near you, as those extra days will be so worth it.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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