This May Be The Key To Living A Longer Life

by Michelle Regalado

There's no better way to enjoy a beautiful summer's day than by heading outdoors and soaking in the sunshine. But there are plenty of reasons to explore nature aside from great weather. A new study has found that women who live in homes surrounded by trees and other greenery have lower mortality rates than those who don’t. That's right: living in an area surrounded by nature can help you live longer.

According to a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health used data from over 106,000 American women to compare each one's risk of mortality with the level of greenery around their homes (the latter of which was obtained via satellite imagery). The data, compiled from 2000 to 2008, showed a clear correlation between lower mortality rates and those living in greener surroundings.

Case in point? Women who were surrounded by nature reportedly had a whopping 34 percent lower rate of respiratory-related diseases and deaths, as well as a 13 percent lower rate of deaths from cancer. But the correlation wasn't just specific to those types of conditions. Women who lived in the greenest surroundings also had a lower mortality rate overall — a full 12 percent lower than those living in the least green areas.

There are a few obvious reasons for this. As you can probably guess, people who live in high-vegetation environments usually don't experience as much air and noise pollution or extreme heat as those living in city environments. But researchers also suggest that there's another cause of this link between nature and lower mortality rates and it actually makes perfect sense. Those surrounded by more greenery have more opportunity for outdoor exercise and social interaction — which, in turn, leads to lower levels of depression and stress and improved mental health.

Bottom line: spending any time in nature is good for your health, but there are even bigger pros if you live somewhere surrounded by greenery. Looks like it may be time to look into fulfilling that lifelong dream of owning a house in the countryside.

Image: Thais Ramos Varela/Stocksy; Giphy