A wellbeing boost on your doorstep
Posted on 7th February 2018 at 12:40
Being outside in nature, whatever the weather, has a beneficial impact on both physical and mental health and wellbeing
Last Sunday’s Countryfile (BBC1 4.2.18 if you want to catch up on iplayer) aired a piece on the benefits of regular walks in green spaces for both physical and mental wellbeing. Research has shown that we inhale the oils and natural chemicals released by vegetation and these boost our mood and have a beneficial effect on our circulatory system. What’s more these benefits are as effective in the winter as they are in the spring and summer when plant growth is at its peak.
There is plenty of other research available pointing towards nature being an under-recognised healer. Even when we are unable to get outside we can still benefit just from seeing green spaces. A study in America found that hospital patients with tree views were discharged on average a day earlier than those whose beds faced a wall. So if you are convalescing and unable to get outside then try to position yourself facing a garden and open a window if you can to allow the natural plant oils to waft in. You may not smell them but they will still be there.
People living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on antidepressants, and more likely to have higher self-esteem. Impressively, middle-aged Scottish men with homes in deprived but verdant areas were found to have a death rate 16% lower than their more urban counterparts.
We need nature in our lives to support our wellbeing and to enable us to age well. A simple daily walk in a green space is ideal to boost both physical and mental health and at times when that isn’t possible just sitting by a window with a nice view can be beneficial. Nature really can help us prepare for surgical procedures and recover more quickly post-operatively. It’s not rocket science but a little reminder backed up by up-to-date research and good old common sense can be just the ticket to keep us on track and spur us on even when it’s cold outside.
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