Plant yourself firmly outdoors to enjoy a longer and healthier retirement

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According to a study published by the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, women are more likely to live longer, healthier lives in areas that have more green spaces and vegetation. The research, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, reported that “women with the highest levels of vegetation, or greenness, near their homes had a 12 per cent lower death rate compared to women with the lowest levels of vegetation near their homes.”

Greener retirement goals

It’s no secret that a brisk walk in the fresh air will blow away the cobwebs and leave you feeling invigorated, but this research goes so far as to report that women in the greenest areas were 34% less likely to die of respiratory disease or kidney disease and while their cancer mortality rate was reduced by 13%.

Spending time in a garden, park or green space was shown to result in ‘improved mental health’, reduce stress levels and reduce rates of depression, as well as allow people the opportunity to increase their level of physical activity and be more social.

Planning a healthy retirement

Researcher Peter James, who worked on the study said that “we were surprised to observe such strong associations between increased exposure to greenness and lower mortality rates.

"We were even more surprised to find evidence that a large proportion of the apparent benefit from high levels of vegetation seems to be connected with improved mental health."

For those of you who don’t live in the countryside, there is no need to panic. The research team said “this doesn't mean people have to move to the country if they aim to live to a ripe old age—"84 percent of our sample lived in urban areas".  

In Britain, we are lucky to have some incredible seasons. Whether the days are long and light, or the afternoons precious, it's time to make the most of our beautiful outdoor spaces. Whether you live in the Scottish Highlands, on the Southern coast of England or anywhere in-between, it’s time to make the most of the green spaces around you. We hope, for all our sake’s, the sun decides to shine!