Green is Gold

EVERYONE knows eating leafy greens is good for you, but recent research claims living beside parks and green open space is just as salutary.

“Research is showing the more green we are surrounded with the healthier it is for us,” South Fremantle health guru Peter Dingle says.

Anxiety

More green spaces leads to increased physical activity, reduced psychological stress, anxiety and depression.

“While increasing social contacts/cohesion and a sense of community belonging, reducing noise and air pollution levels and moderating ambient temperature may underline benefits,” Dr Dingle says.

• Dr Peter Dingle. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

Suburban sprawl, urban infill and larger homes on smaller blocks has seen a dramatic loss of open space.

“We lose more open space, green and private gardens are either small or non-existent,” Dr Dingle says.

“We are losing contact with nature.

“Kids can’t play in the backyard because we are losing the backyard.”

An Australian Nurses’ Health study revealed that regardless of your socioeconomic status, those in close proximity to parks and beaches have a 34 per cent lower rate of death due to respiratory disease, 41 per cent less from kidney disease and 13 per cent less cancer deaths.

Research by Exeter University in the UK, found people reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when living in greener areas.

A number of factors could be at play, including a pay rise, promotion or getting married, Dr Matthew White, says in a BBC report: “But the trouble with all those things is that within six months to a year, they are back to their original baseline levels of wellbeing. “So these things are not sustainable, they do not make us happy in the long term.

“What you see is that even after three years, mental health is still better which is unlike many of the other things that we think will make us happy.”

Whether walking in the park, at the beach, or working in your garden, the great outdoors is good for you, Dr Dingle says.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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