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Green spaces help 'improve mental wellbeing'

28/04/2011 Joanna
Schools that provide students with green spaces at breaks and lunchtimes may find that they perform better mentally, as well as getting more exercise.

According to one medical expert, spending time in natural environments can help the brain to recover from the sensory overload it can often suffer in built-up areas.

GP Dr William Bird, who is also strategic health advisor for Nature England, said that the brain can struggle to cope with constant exposure to traffic and urban noise, which can cause stress.

"Walking in a green environment, whether that's by a river or in a park or along a canal tow path in an urban area, where you can hear birds and see trees and nature, allows the brain to restore its level of concentration," he said.

"Studies have shown people who walk in a green environment perform better in concentration and maths tests than those who walk in a noisy urban area."

He was speaking after a team from the University of Illinois found that areas with more green space also tend to have lower rates of childhood obesity and adult mortality.
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