Thriving landscapes around hospitals may encourage faster healing

By Marc Cullen

The impact of a healthy tree canopy, colourful gardens and lush green landscapes on human health has long been known, but not well quantified, until now. Healthy landscapes around our hospitals help in a measurable way to reduce hospital stays. Studies have found exposure to healthy landscapes offers hospitalized patients benefits such as improved sleep, better pain management and a reduction in post-operative stays.

Also, they contribute to the depression reduction. Healthy landscapes provide positive benefits for people suffering from major depressive disorders and enhance psychological well-being within minutes of exposure.

Green spaces enhance overall air quality, as pollution and dust can deplete oxygen from the air we breathe. Without sufficient oxygen, our bodies can experience exhaustion, fatigue, depression, muscle aches, respiratory difficulty and memory problems. A lawn area of a mere 2,500 square feet provides enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe daily.

Taking advantage of the outdoor environment often encourages physical activity, which is critical to maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life. Encouraging outdoor activity can help address these problems. By activity, they could mean most anything, even a shuffle to a park bench while leaning on a walker is better than sitting in the crowded hallway watching the world go by. There is cleaner air in the green space, a more benign environment where birds sing, wind blows and clouds move passively through the sky.

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