Chesapeake Real Estate Blog

Why Living Among Nature Makes You Healthier and Improves Your Life


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Did you know that living closer to nature is better for your health?

One great thing about living in Hampton Roads is that there are so many things to do in our area - we have the best concert halls, aquariums, museums, restaurants, and malls. We also have some amazing parks and beaches. The problem? Most of us living in cities like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake are spending far less time outside in green, natural spaces. 

According to new research, living closer to nature has more health benefits than you think. If you're in the market for a new home, here's why you should consider purchasing a house with scenic views.

Living In Areas With More Vegetation Improves Your Physical Health

New research suggests that living closer to nature can actually extend your life.

A recent study published by the journal Environmental Health Prospectives found that people living in places that have the most vegetation within 800 feet of their homes have a 12 percent lower rate of mortality than people living in the least green places. This relationship was strongest for deaths related to respiratory disease, cancer and kidney disease.

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Women In Particular Live Longer When Surrounded By Nature

Researchers with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital used data from 108,630 women across the United States, comparing the women's risk of mortality with the level of vegetation surrounding their homes. They found that “women living in areas with the most vegetation had a 34 percent lower rate of respiratory-related deaths and a 13 percent lower rate of cancer deaths compared with those who had the least vegetation around their homes”.

Based on previous research, this could be because places with more vegetation are thought to be less polluted. Also, the presence of vegetation, itself, can help keep the air cleaner.

Living Close To Nature Improves Your Mental Health

Various studies have linked city dwellers who have little access to "greener" areas with having a higher risk of anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, especially when compared to people who live outside the city in areas with more vegetation.

One theory about how nature affects mental health is the "biophilia" hypothesis; according to Howard Frumkin, dean of the school of public health at the University of Washington, the "biophilia" hypothesis suggests 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".

Living Close To Nature Increases Social Engagement

Living near green spaces like parks and hiking trails can also help encourage people to get outside, exercise and engage with other people. 

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last July compared the mental affects that different outdoor environments can have on people. Researchers assigned half of the participants to walk for 90 minutes through a leafy, quiet park and the other half to walk next to a loud, hectic, multi-lane highway. The result? They found that participants who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the park were more attentive and happier afterward than those who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.

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If you're in the market for a new home, consider Riverview at the Preserve and the beautiful scenic views that surround our waterfront community. Contact us today to discuss your new home plans, or schedule a tour now!