“There is a growing body of research which indicates a relationship between living near greenspaces and reported higher levels of mental health and mental wellbeing.
Greenspace describes either maintained or unmaintained environmental spaces. Nature reserves, woodlands, sports fields, farmland, wilderness environments and urban parks can all be grouped together under the umbrella term Greenspace. As Barton and Rogerson highlight in their 2017 article, greenspaces – particularly in urban contexts – are purposefully kept and indeed needed for the recreational or aesthetic merits they offer to an area.
There is a shown positive association between areas of greenspace within a community and mental health. When looking at individuals living in urban areas with lower levels of greenspace in comparison to higher levels of greenspace rates of depression, anxiety and mental fatigue rise (Barton and Rogerson, 2017). Disease prevalence is reported to be much higher even after controlling for socioeconomic status (Maas et al, 2009). And studies in the Netherlands and the US have shown having larger areas of nearby greenspaces can act as a buffer for life stresses across both different ages and cultures (Wells & Evans, 2003; van den Berg et al, 2010).
Being a runner myself and having moved house frequently over the last 10 years, I have noticed a strong coalition between the direct surroundings of where I am living and my motivation to go outside to exercise. Exercise is something which I recognise has a real benefit on my mental wellbeing. I would hazard a guess this would not be a massive revelation for most people reading this as the relationship between exercise and mental health is often talked about. However, the environment and space in which I am running has an equally significant impact in lifting my mood and health.
When I lived by the coast I formed a regular pattern of running along the seaside every morning, living in East Sussex and having the rolling Downs on my backdoor motivated me to train and run a Marathon.