Take Your Nature Vitamin Every Day During Pandemic

Take Your Nature Vitamin Every Day During Pandemic

By Jim Windell

            If you live in an area in which your house is surrounded by trees, shrubs and green grass, you are lucky. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

            It has long been known through epidemiological studies that greater exposure to, or contact with, natural environments – such as parks, woodlands and beaches – is associated with better health and well-being. If your house (or office) looks out over a cement parking lot or the red brick of an apartment building, the health benefits are minimal. Contrast that with living (or working) in greener urban or suburban areas and your risks for cardiovascular disease, obesity,  diabetes, asthma hospitalization, mental distress, and, ultimately, mortality goes down.

           Being able to look out a window at home and view a panorama of trees and grass or living close enough to a lush park or forest where you can walk every day allows you to count yourself among the emotionally wealthy – and healthy.

           Now, a new study suggests that nature around one's home may help mitigate some of the negative mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

           Published in the journal Ecological Applications, this study simply replicates previous studies by once again reinforcing the idea that if you can view green space or you can spend time outdoors in a green environment, your quality of life, as measured by such outcomes as depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness, are more likely to be on the plus side.

           "Our results suggest that nearby nature can serve as a buffer in decreasing the adverse impacts of a very stressful event on humans," said lead author Masashi Soga, PhD, of The University of Tokyo. Soga went on to say that "Protecting natural environments in urban areas is important not only for the conservation of biodiversity, but also for the protection of human health."

      To read the original journal article, find it with this reference:

      Masashi Soga, Maldwyn J. Evans, Kazuaki Tsuchiya, & Yuya Fukano. (2020). A room with a green view: the importance of nearby nature for mental health during the COVID‐19 pandemicEcological Applications; DOI: 10.1002/eap.2248


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