Want to live longer? Escape the city. In The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu explains how living near green spaces could add years to your life. She writes:
Want to live longer? Living near more green spaces could be part of the answer.
A study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances suggests that if you have long-term exposure to more greenery where you live, on average you may be adding 2.5 years to your life.
The paper adds to existing knowledge of the health benefits of living around greenery by shedding more light on how nature can affect our bodies. The researchers looked at long-term exposure to surrounding green spaces and how that affected biological aging among a group of more than 900 people in four U.S. cities.
“Our study shows that being near green space caused some biological or molecular changes that can be detected in our blood,” said Lifang Hou, a preventive medicine professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the study’s principal investigator.
How nature can ‘get under our skin’
To explore the association between long-term exposure to greenery and aging, the researchers compared age-related biological changes in the study’s participants over a 20-year period against data on green spaces near where those people live. Using blood DNA, they were able to measure biological age at a molecular level by analyzing small changes in how genes related to the aging process work, Hou said.
If a person’s biological age, which can be sped up or slowed down depending on how they live, is older than their chronological age, they may be at higher risk for developing age-related health conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or Alzheimer’s, she said.
Biological age “really depends on what we do daily,” including what we eat and how physically active we are, Hou said. The study, however, emphasizes that it’s not only about what each person individually does for their own health, but also their neighborhoods and communities, she said.
Action Line: Escape the city. Find your new life in Your Survival Guy’s 2023 Super States. Become a Survivor. Start by clicking here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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