Do you want a long and healthy life? Get into nature!
Science agrees: if you want to live healthier and longer, you have to go out into nature.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow analyzed the public health data of England and found a direct relationship with the presence of parks, nature and forest zones. More green meant a longer life. The bigger the green zone, the bigger the effect. This conclusion was also found by Japanese researchers: elderly people appeared to live longer if they lived close to a park.
How much green is enough?
Are you already packing your bag to go camping in the forest for a week? No need! Seeing a bit of green is enough. During a study, researchers looked at how much green could be seen from people’s windows. And even after a correction for social and economic differences, a striking relationship remained: the more green in the view the better children could deal with stressful life experiences.
Looking at a nature photo already has an effect
Yes, you read that correctly. Only looking at a nature photograph is already doing the trick. In a laboratory, the brain activities of test subjects who looked at nature photos and photos of buildings were measured. When test subjects look at nature photos, the stress level reduces and people become more relaxed than when they view photos with buildings. The largest effect is measured when the photos are only with nature, without showing a building or road.
Test subjects who look at urban images move their eyes back and forth faster and fix details more often than when they look at nature photos. In an urban environment your attention is continuously ‘claimed’ by all stimuli. Do you live in the city? Then you have to work continuously to get focused. Trees and plants put your brain in a calm mindset, opposed to having to be vigilant in the city and focusing on the visual and social world.
Our tip: go for a walk in a nearby park during your break. No time? Decorate your walls full of jungle wallpaper, grow a jungle in your house or turn your screen saver into a beautiful jungle.