The positive effects of green places

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I attended medical school in Brooklyn. One of our buildings had a nice view of the surrounding area. The only thing that looked green was the cemetery. It always seemed a little depressing. I used to tease that there was only one tree that grew in Brooklyn and they wrote a book about it.

That is not an issue here in Sussex County. Green places are everywhere. You might wonder what difference that makes.

A recent study suggests that it makes all the difference in the world. The study was done in England at the School of Psychology of Exeter University. It was published in the journal called Health and Place.

We have long known that being in an outdoor area produced healthier living habits. We had always attributed it primarily to being outdoors.

However, researchers found something surprising. They looked at the effects of people being able to take in a view of greenery from their house. They looked at the amount of green space in a person’s neighborhood. They looked at the presence of green views from their home. They looked at their access to a garden. They looked at how frequently they used outdoor spaces.

One of the things that they looked at was physical activity in the outdoor space. They found it did not really make a difference if you were physically active or just looking at the outdoors.

The overall effect of this was to reduce cravings for certain things. They were surprised that these individuals smoked less. They drank less alcohol. They were less likely to be obese.

So the researchers started looking at how much green it took to support healthy habits like these. They found that even in a city, residential views with more than 25 percent green space had the same findings.

So, the next time you decide to sit down on the couch and watch TV do it differently. Just raise the shades and look out the window at the green views. It will be a healthier approach than sitting in front of the TV with a bag of snacks, a cigarette and an alcoholic beverage. According to the research you really won’t care about those things.

Sussex County seems made for the green space theory of healthy living. Enjoy yourself. Perhaps you won’t have to write a book about something as rare as a tree.

2019-07-25T15:48:43-05:00 July 25th, 2019|HEALTH|