Each participant reported on how long they had been taking prescribed medications for high blood pressure, asthma, and psychotropic drugs.
Spending time in nature, whether in a park or a community garden, could be the perfect prescription for city residents looking to reduce their reliance on prescription drugs.
Researchers in Finland discovered that visiting green spaces rather than viewing them from afar reduced the use of prescription medications for depression, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and asthma in city dwellers.
The study was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Previous research has shown a link between good health and natural environments, according to the study’s authors, but the evidence is inconsistent. The recent study looked into what factors contribute to better health outcomes.
They looked at how frequently people visited green spaces, how much green space or blue space (water) was accessible, and whether viewing green spaces from home had the same effect.
According to the study, green areas include forests, gardens, parks, castle parks, cemeteries, zoos, natural grasslands, and wetlands. Seas, lakes, and rivers were examples of blue areas.
Each participant reported on how long they had been taking prescribed medications for high blood pressure, asthma, and psychotropic drugs. They also reported how much time they spent exercising outside in green spaces between late spring and early autumn. Finally, respondents indicated whether they could see green or blue spaces from any of their home windows and, if so, how often they looked outside.
The research team also considered other factors influencing the results, such as personal health behaviour, outdoor air pollution, noise, household income, and educational level. Some 6,000 of the 16,000 original survey respondents met the criteria for inclusion in the final analysis.
The researchers discovered that the number of nearby residential green and blue spaces or views of them from home had no effect on prescription medication use. The number of times a person physically visited a green space, on the other hand, had a positive impact on their health.
In comparison to those who visited nature spaces less than once a week, those who visited green spaces three to four times a week used 33% less mental health medication, 36% less blood pressure medication, and 26% less asthma medicine.
People who visited these locations five times per week reduced their use of mental health, blood pressure, and asthma medications by 22, 41, and 24%, respectively.