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Those commuting through natural environments report better mental health

ANI | Updated: Oct 19, 2018 14:56 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 19 (ANI): Turns out, people who commute through natural environments report better mental health and this association is even stronger among active commuters.
A new study led by researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) showed the statistical analysis of 3,599 participants and stated that respondents commuting through natural environments on a daily basis had on average a 2.74 point higher mental health score compared to those who commuted through natural environments less frequently. This association was even stronger among people who reported active commuting (i.e. walking or cycling).
The findings of the study appeared in the Journal of Environment International.
In this case, natural environments were defined as all public and private outdoor spaces that contain 'green' and/or 'blue' natural elements such as street trees, forests, city parks, and natural parks/reserves, and also included all types of water bodies.
"Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with life in urban environments. The urban design could be a powerful tool to confront these challenges and create healthier cities. One way of doing so would be investing in natural commuting routes for cycling and walking", said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, a researcher.
Other results showed that there were more active commuters among those who declared commuting through natural environments daily. However, the quality of the natural environments in which commuting took place did not influence the results. (ANI)