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Research shows that visiting nature between three and four times a week can cut people's risks of needing medication for anxiety or depression by a third.
The research is done by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the positive impacts also include physical health. For city residents, visiting green spaces can also help with the risks of needing to take asthma or high blood pressure medication by a third and a quarter each.
“Mounting scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of nature exposure is likely to increase the supply of high-quality green spaces in urban environments and promote their active use,” the researchers write.
“This might be one way to improve health and welfare in cities.”
A lot of research suggests that the lack of access to nature for city dwellers has a huge impact on both physical and mental health. Finnish researchers observed 16 000 residents from Helsinki and surrounding areas.
The people in the survey were asked how often they visit any type of green spaces - also including zoos, cemeteries and “blue areas” like lakes. The research team also collected information on how many prescription drugs the respondents took. The information was used as a general indication of mental and physical health.
Euronews.green writes that “The correlation between time in nature and drug use was stark. A resident visiting a green space three or four times a week was 33 per cent less likely to use mental health drugs, and 26 per cent less likely to use asthma drugs.”
Maybe reconnecting to nature as a balancing and soothing strategy isn’t far-fetched at all since our species didn’t evolve in cities and areas with little or no vegetation.