Green, in my experience, starts with childhood. Nothing compares with climbing trees as a child. A close second was laying flat on my back in the yard or woods behind my house and cloud gazing. It just felt good. A Harvard Study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as well as Brigham and Women’s Hospital explains more of what a child instinctively understands.
The conclusions of the study explained that higher levels of green vegetation in one’s neighborhood were associated with decreased mortality. In other words, never forget that planting vegetation helps in a multidimensional way. Planting trees mitigates climate change to an extent, but it also directly improves lives.
The researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital focused on women, but felt the same would be true of men. They examined more than 108,000 women enrolled in the Nurse’s Health Study, a nationwide investigation into risk factors of major chronic diseases in women — from 2000 to 2008.
We know a daily walk or two improves mental acuity and vitalizes the walker. Walking is particularly useful as a daily activity of aging adults and seems to keep cognitive decline at bay. This study focuses on the added benefit of walking or simply sitting in greener surroundings that effectively supports mental health, well-being, and strong immune function. Forest bathing has become a new identification, but it is an age-old form of relaxation.
Gardening several days a week, rolling in the green grass or ocean sand, or sitting in a garden isn’t just a luxury — it’s a way to stay healthier.
Risks that seemed to be cut by living near nature included kidney disease, respiratory disease, and cancer, according to the research.
When we vote, and hopefully choose to vote, perhaps it is critical to our quality of life and our own longevity to vote for the candidate who increases policies that keep and increase greener environments.
Images: Cynthia Shahan, All Rights Reserved (No Commercial Use)
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