Living in a metropolitan area, where productivity equals success, it can be hard to see the benefits that trees provide. We’ve all seen acres of forests cut down to make room for shopping malls and parking lots, but have you ever thought about how deforestation could be affecting your health?
In most cities, trees are planted solely for appearance and shade; however, there are many health benefits that trees provide. Increasing evidence suggests that nature — trees specifically — improve the health and stress levels of residents in urban areas. People in the D.C. metropolitan area tend to live demanding lives where they accumulate stress. This stress can manifest in physical and mental health issues if not addressed. As a result, residents are finding activities to release this stress, whether it’s long relaxing bubble baths or stress relieving workouts. However most people overlook the best natural stress reliever — trees!
It might be difficult to believe that trees have a more of an effect on society than providing oxygen and shade, but it’s true. According to studies dating as far back as the 1980’s, viewing trees and interacting with nature boosts human health and happiness. A 1984 study revealed that patients recovering from surgery in a room with a view of trees recovered quicker and required less pain medication then those without the view. Recent studies have even suggested a connection between trees and lower obesity, general health, immunity, morbidity, and mortality.
So next time you’re feeling stressed or under the weather, take a walk outside or relax in the shade of a tree; it could be just what the doctor ordered.