Spending more time in green spaces such as parks and gardens can help reduce drug use, according to new research from Finland.
If you have the opportunity to live near a green meadow or a beautiful forest, the view of this place from home does not seem to have the same effect. There was no association between the use of prescription drugs and the amount of green and aquatic habitat available to people. Getting out and spending time there makes the difference.
Researchers from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Tampere University in Finland, and the University of Eastern Finland used data from 6,000 people living in Helsinki, using medications for things like anxiety, insomnia, depression, blood pressure, and Asthma as an agent. because of their health.
“Exposure to natural environments is thought to be beneficial to human health, but the evidence is inconsistent,” wrote the researchers.
The participants were asked about the medicines they take, and how many “green and blue” areas (natural areas on land and near lakes, rivers, and oceans) they can see from home, how often they took those thoughts. , how often did they spend time or exercise.
Compared to visits less than once a week, three to four visits per week were associated with a 33 percent reduction in the use of antipsychotic medications, a 36 percent reduction in the use of blood pressure medications, and a 26 percent reduction in the use of asthma medications.
Those figures drop by 22 percent, 41 percent, and 24 percent respectively for at least five trips per week. The links held when household income and education were controlled for, but BMI (Body Mass Index) calculations weakened the associations.
“This finding supports the indisputable evidence emphasizing the importance of using green spaces in relation to mental health, and suggests that the same applies to other health conditions, such as asthma and hypertension,” the researchers say.
The data here is not enough to show cause and effect – it is important to consider that those who are in good health have more opportunities and motivation to come out – but it shows that there is a link that needs to be evaluated.
It also shows that living and thinking about nature does not have the same effect as going out and spending time. Previous research has shown that it doesn’t take long for the effects of being abroad to be felt.
That said, green spaces must exist before people can move out and live in them — and that’s where urban planning comes in, according to the authors of a new study.
“More scientific evidence supporting environmental benefits could increase the availability of high-quality green spaces in cities and encourage their active use,” write the researchers.
“This could be one way to improve health and quality of life in cities.”
Research has been published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.