Friday, October 16, 2009

Concrete Kills

Ok, granted, that is a bit harsh.  But close to the point actually.  A big new study out of the Netherlands comfirms in an empirical way what most of us (who love the outdoors) have long suspected.  That getting out in nature just flat makes you live longer.

Actually, it's more than that.  The health study of almost 350 thousand dutch people found that even being in close proximity to nature...has big benefits.

One of the major findings; that living near (within 1 km) to a park, or any green open space, significantly reduced people's anxiety and all forms of stress.  And, as we know, stress has been found to be a contributing factor in everything from hives to bad digestion, to cancer.

Another very interesting finding of this study.  When people of all kinds and income levels were living near nature, the gap between the health of rich and poor lessened.  You might say that beautiful surroundings, bring enhanced health to everyone, but especially those with less access to the best health care technology.

As you might expect, the study has huge implications.  Not only on how we live, but where, and why.  Already urban planners are looking at the findings, which could have a great impact on how neighborhoods of the future are planned (with more parks we presume), and how aging neighborhoods are brought back to life.

With health care costs running amuck, it may well be in our best interests as a society to give these findings a hard look.  Developers may not make as much money leaving open space for parks, but the human and societal cost of not doing so may be far greater.  It may kill us.

Read the article at Nature and Health Study

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