The findings of a new Finnish study have revealed that visiting green spaces could reduce the need for certain meds among patients.
It has always been believed and widely said that being out in nature and enjoying fresh air has many health benefits and is good for the soul and overall happiness.
A new study by a team in Finland which was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, revealed their interesting findings of the benefit and restorative properties that visiting green spaces can have and how it can even reduce the need for certain medications.
The survey – over 16,000 people surveyed
Over 16,000 people were randomly selected to participate from the Finnish cities of Espoo, Vantaa and Helsinki, the three cities that make up the largest urban area in Finland.
The main aim of the survey was to gather information on how people who lived in urban areas over the age of 25 experienced green spaces within a 1 km (0.6 miles) radius of their homes.
Participants in the survey were also asked to report their use of prescribed medications for periods ranging from within the past week, year or never.
The importance of visiting green spaces – great for your health
Whether it’s a local or natural park, garden or lake, being out in green spaces such as these can be a great thing for those with ill health who happen to live in cities.
When speaking about the positive effect of visiting green spaces, senior researcher Dr. Anu Turunen of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said, “The effects of visiting green spaces were stronger among those reporting the lowest annual household income.
“But overall, the associations found did not depend on household income and educational attainment. These observed associations were weakened when weight was factored in, particularly for asthma meds, as obesity is a known risk factor for asthma”.
Recent studies – revealed interesting findings
While studies in the past suggested that exposure to natural environments was good for health and well-being, the evidence was inconsistent.
According to the Finnish team’s new study, the frequency of visits to urban green spaces was more crucial than simply viewing them from somewhere like your house.
Researchers from the team in Finland discovered that urban residents who tended to visit green spaces regularly, regardless of their income or education level, were found to have had lower use of drugs for anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia and asthma.
They came to this conclusion by looking at the number of green spaces within a community and then compared this number to the frequency of visits and the views of such spaces offered by households to see if they were separately associated or not with the use of certain prescription medications.