Going Green for your Health

Posted by: | June 17, 2011

With the sun making longer appearances and the (hopeful) imminence of warm summer months, I have been taking advantage of every opportunity to get outdoors.  I have also been reading up about the mental and physical health benefits to spending some quality ‘green’ time outside.   For years health practitioners, recreational programmers and city planners have touted the marvelous health properties that can be accessed through green spaces but only recently have scientific studies been able to back their claims.  Taking your workout to the park or spending some time in the garden are activities now proven to improve physical and mental health.  Here is how:  

Physical Health Benefits:

Spending time in greener environments has been shown to support higher levels of physical activity which in turn improve immune system functioning, enhance recovery from surgeries and improve blood glucose levels. Scientists believe that some improved immune functioning can be attributed to phytoncides, an airborne chemical emitted by plants in order to protection against insects and disease. It seems that they benefit humans as well by killing disease causing micro-organisms that may be harmful to our bodies.

Mental Health Benefits:

Increased access to green spaces and natural environments results in improved cognitive functioning, increased self-discipline and stress relief.  These benefits have been attributed to the communal nature of being outside and the potential for increased recreational activities which aid in reducing depression and improving self-esteem.  With increased exposure to green spaces, people are more generous and sociable and demonstrate a greater sense of community.

There is plenty more information and evidence out there on this topic but I have already been inspired to try and spend just a little bit of time outside every day.  It does not have to turn into a daunting addition to your already demanding schedule but could be as simple as getting off of the bus one stop earlier, walking to the store or sitting on your porch after dinner.  Studies have shown that we can reap the benefits of ‘green’ in as little as five minutes.

Click here for more information.

Filed under: Miranda Massie

One Response to “Going Green for your Health”

  1. Sunshine says:

    Another great article! Thanks!!

UBC a place of mind

Food of the Month

Oranges Every month, the Healthy UBC Blog highlights a locally available food, and gives you a recipe or two to try out.  This month, read all about mandarin oranges, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and folate.

>> Food of the Month page.


Nothing on the Healthy UBC Blog should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine. Opinions offered in the blog are those of individuals and are not the official voice for any department at UBC.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Healthy UBC / Health Promotion Programs
Department of Health, Safety and Environment
University of British Columbia,
50-2075 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1
Tel 604-822-8762
Fax 604-822-0572

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | ©2009 University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet