In their 2018 systematic review of the literature on the health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes, Twohig-Bennett and Jones (2018) included 103 observational and 40 interventional studies investigating over 100 health outcomes. Their results were impressive and will have you reaching for your wellies. The studies demonstrated clearly that increased greenspace exposure was associated with numerous health benefits.
- Decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone) suggesting a reduction in stress.
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Reduction in cholesterol
- Improvement in heart rate variability
- Decreased risk of preterm birth
- Decrease in cardiovascular mortality
- Increase in reported good health
- Reduction in incidence of stroke, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, asthma, and coronary heart disease.
- Good cancer and respiratory related outcomes (reduced mortality)
They concluded that Green prescriptions involving greenspace use may have substantial benefits.