Is it possible to spend a little time in green spaces and become healthier just by doing that?
New research suggests that spending time in green spaces can indeed reduce the need for pharmaceutical drugs.
A recent study from Finland found lower use of drugs for depression, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and asthma among urban residents who often visit green spaces regardless of their income or level of education.
The frequency of visits to urban green spaces was key in reducing the need for these drugs.
Other studies have suggested that exposure to natural environments is good for health and well-being, and the findings from the Finnish team showed that compared with less than one weekly visit, visiting three or four times weekly was associated with 33 percent lower odds of using mental health meds, 36 percent lower odds of using blood pressure meds, and 26 percent lower odds of using asthma meds.
Living near a leafy green area was also found to cut the risk of a stroke by 16 percent.
Spending time in green spaces can therefore be an effective way to improve health and well-being in cities.