If you live in a concrete jungle and miss the sight of greenery, your body might be trying to tell you something.
A team of researchers from various universities found that those who live on tree-lined streets see a boost in self-reported health benefits, comparable to a $10,000 salary raise, or even being seven years younger! To make these findings, researchers used a combination of satellite images of Toronto along with an inventory of trees planted on public land across the city. What they discovered was that the closer people lived to lush, green areas, the less likely they were to report adverse health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or heart disease.
Not bad for a few plants, eh?
None of this means you have to move to a forest to be healthy. The study found that only about 10 or more trees on any given block is enough to make nearby residents reap the benefits. It even went as far as to suggest that planting four per cent more trees in any neighbourhood would have significant health benefits for everyone nearby.
But here’s the strange part: Researchers can’t figure out exactly what it is about trees that boosts people’s health. Previous studies have linked them to improved air quality, better mental health, and lower blood pressure as well as a reduction in sedentary behaviour. But the researchers still want to find out why trees do these things.
Either way, this could be an easy way to bring big change to a neighbourhood on the cheap. The Toronto Star reports it only costs the city about $72 to buy and plant a tree. So, in theory, it would cost $720 worth of tax dollars to make an entire area feel like they just won the lottery.
Sign us up! Oh, and hug a tree today. They deserve one.