Stop Depression & High Blood Pressure FAST – #1 Life Hack for Seniors!

By on June 29, 2016
Got high blood pressure? Here’s an easy fix: Try a nature walk.

According to new research from the University of Queensland, people who visited their local parks for at least 30 minutes each week had lower blood pressure levels, in addition to improved mental health. Now researchers suggest that people who are prone to these medical issues should try visiting parks more often.

The research appears in the current issue of Scientific Reports.

“If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour each week there would be seven per cent fewer cases of depression and nine percent fewer cases of high blood pressure,” says Dr. Danielle Shanahan, a University of Queensland researcher. “Given that the societal costs of depression alone in Australia are estimated at $A12.6 billion a year, savings to public health budgets across all health outcomes could be immense. Parks offered health benefits including reduced risks of developing heart disease, stress, anxiety and depression.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from over 1,500 residents living in Brisbane City, Australia, who filled out questionnaires about their health status. Researchers were specifically interested in residents who reported having depression or high blood pressure.

They also provided information about their physical activity habits, such as how often and where they worked out. This included how much time they spent in “green spaces,” such as local parks.

Researchers then compared the severity of their health problems with the amount of time they spent in parks.

The result? Pretty big, say researchers–they were 9 percent less likely to have high blood pressure. Their risk of mild to moderate depression also decreased by 7 percent, helping improve their mental health as well.

For researcher Richard Fuller, this research could change how doctors approach both health issues.

“We’ve known for a long time that visiting parks is good for our health, but we are now beginning to establish exactly how much time we need to spend in parks to gain these benefits,” says Fuller, who currently serves as an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland. “We have specific evidence that we need regular visits of at least half an hour to ensure we get these benefits.”

What This Means For You

Although it won’t cure high blood pressure or depression, a simple park visit could make a big difference in your health, say researchers. To reduce your risk of both health problems, simply visit your local park 30 minutes per week for a quick health boost.

“We need more support and encouragement of community activities in natural spaces,” says Shanahan. “40 per cent of Brisbane residents did not visit an urban park in a typical week.”

Readers: How often do you visit your local park?

Dose of Nature is Just What the Doctor
Health Benefits From Nature Experiences Depend on

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