The trees that tower over neighborhood sidewalks are full of pleasant shade and squirrels for my dog to chase. Parks and their large expanses of grasses provide a serene and cool place to walk and rest.
As much as nature gives to us, recent reports show green space is giving even more than we think. It is making us healthier.
A study conducted in Amsterdam in 2009 determined that the annual rates of 15 out of the 24 diseases they chose to study were significantly lower among those living closer to green spaces. Research showed that the rates of depression, for example, were 32 per thousand for those in more built up areas and just 24 per thousand for those living in greener spaces.
Studies like these are perhaps what prompted, The Green Road Project, a team of integrative health specialists, architects, engineers, and scientists, to take the initial steps toward measuring what the outdoor environment does for the health of veterans.
Opening next spring, the 100-square-yard oasis they’re creating (think streamside path and plenty of seating areas) will be designed to promote healing among sick, injured and wounded veterans receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
After the space opens, researchers are set to study the physiological, biological, and psychological responses that users of the space experience.
Looking to create a green space of your own to enhance your surroundings and boost your health?
- Use these tips to plant some tomatoes and reap the benefits as a food source as well as a health benefit
- Work with your city or municipality to plant a rain garden in your backyard (you can often get most of the materials you need, and help planting, for free!)
- Keep your green areas green by participating in a planned trash mob, or have your own impromptu trash mob
- Experience the healing powers of nature and get outdoors! Here’s some inspiration for riding you bike to your outdoors destination.
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