One Simple Secret for a Longer Life

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Did you know that nature actually can help you live a longer life? New research finds that people who live close to nature may be happier and live longer.

It’s no secret that being out in nature just makes us feel good. This time of year, it’s easy to spend time outside. The sunshine, the fresh grass, the flowers – we just want to bask in it, soak it all in (especially after a long, cold winter)!

But did you know that living close to nature may actually help you live longer? New research suggests just that.

Nature doesn’t just make you feel good – it actually is good for you! Part of the benefit comes from the fact that it does make us feel so good, though.

One potential reason for this, says Howard Frumkin, dean of the school of public health at the University of Washington, is “that we evolved as a species embedded in nature over most of our existence as a species, and something about that nature contact still resonates with us…. Something about contact with nature is soothing and restorative and thereby good for mental health.

It makes sense that most of the longest-lived people on earth live fairly simple lives and spend a lot of time interacting with their natural surroundings.

Of course, not everyone can live in the country, but you can make it a priority to spend time outside in nature as much as possible. No matter what time of year it is, or what the weather is like, there are amazing, interesting, and beautiful things to see, smell, hear, touch, and even taste.

So get outside and enjoy, And in the process, you just may be creating a longer, healthier life!

Here’s more about the study:

A study just published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who live in “greener” areas, with more vegetation around, have a lower risk of mortality. The health benefits are likely thanks to factors such as improved mental health, social engagement and physical activity that come with living near green spaces.
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The researchers found that people living in the greenest places — that is, people who had the most vegetation within 800 feet of their homes — had a 12 percent lower rate of mortality from any non-accidental cause than people living in the least green places. Specifically, they found that the relationship was strongest for deaths related to respiratory disease, cancer and kidney disease. These results were the same regardless of the participants’ income, weight or smoking status and also did not significantly change between urban and suburban locations.
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This is all in line with the ways previous research has suggested greenness can affect health. Places with more vegetation are generally thought to be less polluted, and the presence of vegetation, itself, can help keep air cleaner. And green spaces like parks can help encourage people to get outside, exercise and engage with other people — all factors that can improve overall health. The effects on mental health may be somewhat less straightforward, but nonetheless important, as this study suggested.
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Still, much remains uncertain about the exact mechanisms by which exposure to nature can improve health, Frumkin noted. And scientists are still trying to figure out what type of contact with nature works best.

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James and his team hope to continue exploring the finer details in future research. They’re interested in looking more closely at some of the specific causes of mortality revealed in this study, especially cancer, in order to examine not just how greenness is connected to deaths but to the overall incidence of disease.
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“If we had a medication that did this — a medication that prolonged life, that addressed very different unconnected causes of disease, that did it at no cost and with no side effects — that would be the best medication of the decade,” Frumkin said. “But we don’t have a medication like that except for this ‘vitamin N’ — nature.”

Read the full article here: https://www.sott.net/article/316720-Vitamin-N-How-living-closer-to-nature-is-good-for-you

 

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