PeopleÂ living in the greenest urban areas tend to have better mental health than those in the least green areas. Researchers from Exeter UniversityÂ studiedÂ changes in mental health over time in people who had relocatedÂ to a greener (or less green) urban area. Â Moving to a greener urban area was associated with an immediate and sustained mental health gain.
Being active outdoors reduces stress levels, enhances mood and increases vitality, according to research summarised by the University of Sheffield. Â Getting outside and moving for as little as five minutes at a time improves both mood and self-esteem. For an extra Â boost, exercise near a body of water, as this has the biggest effect.
The mechanism for these benefitsÂ seems to be a reduction inÂ daytime levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), according to research in Scotland. Â Interestingly, the stress-reducing effect associated with green spaces is greater in women than men.