Finding time for green space nurtures a healthy brain


2017-04-11 04:43
An urban park

Researchers have determined that green spaces help to nurture a healthy brain.

If you feel as if being locked in a concrete city area for too long without any exposure to green is getting you down you probably aren't imagining anything. Exposure to green spaces appears to help generate a sense of well being in people.

There are changes in the brain from walking in spaces which are green

The University of York reports that there are changes in levels of engagement, excitement, and frustration triggered in the brain from simply walking between urban environments which are busy and spaces which are green. It is the belief of researchers at the Universities of York and Edinburgh that there are significant implications for architects, city planners and health professionals from these findings.

This research has been part of a large project dealing with mood, mobility and place and the role which an urban environment with green can play in the promotion of health and wellbeing over a lifetime. Electroencephalography (EEG), self-reports, and interviews were used to help determine how elderly people experience various types of urban environments. Volunteers wore a mobile EEG head-set which was used to record their brain activity while they walked between busy and green urban spaces.

Green space was calming and quieter

It was revealed in this study that the volunteers experienced positive effects of green space. They showed a preference for the green space because it was calming and it was quieter. Dr Chris Neale, Research Fellow, from the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute, has said as the population worldwide becomes older and more urbanized there have been concerns about mental wellbeing. There is a role for urban green space in contributing to a positive city environment for elderly people via mediating the stress which is induced by settings which are developed.

This study has been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It has been determined that various types of urban environments may have an association with distinctive patterns of activity of the brain. There have been positive emotional responses reported while walking through green space in urban environments. More green space and more time spent in green space in our urban environments seems to have the potential to nurture mental health.