There\’s no denying that living in the countryside has some definite physical and mental health benefits, but let\’s not also forget that being closer to nature can play a big part in moulding us into the people we are today. A sense of appreciation and a slower pace of life included, this is why living in the countryside is good for your soul
1. You can\’t help but be more mindful Noticing the weather, listening to birdsong and catching a whiff of freshly cut grass, the sounds and smells of nature are enhanced in the countryside and they force you to take notice and live in the moment. 2. Your sense of appreciation for our planet The proud and powerful planet on which we live can throw its weight around with the seasons, and seeing flash floods stream down country lanes, blankets of snow cover untouched fields, storms blaze across a building-free horizon and, of course, the sun shine over the mountains, certainly builds your respect and appreciation for its presence. 3. A slower pace of life Although people who live in the countryside can still lead busy and hectic lives, the peace of their surroundings help to bring them to a gentle halt and remind them not to rush life away. 4. The possibility of adventure Without having a plethora of transport and social activities on your doorstep, both children and adults can be left with just their imagination and senses to take them on an adventure.
A walk, a bike ride or building a den in the forest will all give you a different perspective. 5. Making friends for life A strong sense of community and often living just a short walk away from friends or relatives means that your relationships are frequently nourished and can grow strong enough to last a lifetime. 6. A healthier way of living. Fresh air and local, organic produce can go a long way in keeping your body on top form. This, in turn, does wonders for your wellbeing. 7. a happier mind. We can\’t underestimate the happiness we get from the small things in life. From walking the dog to nurturing the most beautiful bloom of roses, country minds must surely be among the happiest. 8. and a more active body Do you know the physical benefits just one hour in the garden can have on your body? (. ) A daily walk works wonders too – it\’s definitely easy to let the countryside keep you in your prime. If research suggesting that people who live close to major roads has prompted thoughts of clean, traffic-free countryside living, then you are probably not alone. But what is the reality? Is a rural existence better for our health? Like the causes of dementia itself, it is not a straightforward question and there are no clear-cut answers.
On the face of it, fleeing to the countryside seems like a good idea. Less than a quarter of the UK population lives there for a start. The air is cleaner, there is less traffic and air pollution – which increases the risk of stroke, lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases – is not an issue. There is also more opportunity to get out and exercise in all that open space – remember those long dog walks you have been fantasising about – and enjoy being surrounded by greenery. According to David Newby, British Heart Foundation professor of cardiology at the University of Edinburgh, when it comes to air pollution, \”being in the country is better for you\”. That is because living away from busy roads reduces the risk of damage to the lungs and heart from fine particles and gases emitted by traffic. While buses, high-rise buildings and stop-go traffic are known to increase the risk of exposure to pollution, Prof Newby says you do not have to move far to reduce the health risk. \”The closer you are to a major road the worse it is, but moving to the middle of Hyde Park could be sufficient,\” he said. Roy Harrison, professor of environmental health at the University of Birmingham, says it is \”significantly healthier\” to live in the countryside.
He says research shows that air pollution is responsible for an average loss of life expectancy of six months across the UK and most of that is driven by urban populations. \”More remote rural areas have half the concentration of pollution of urban areas. \” And which found that health outcomes are more favourable in rural areas than urban areas, seems to back up these findings. Life expectancy is higher, the infant mortality rate is lower and potential years of life lost from common causes of premature death are also lower in rural areas, it says. But this does not tell the whole story – there are wide variations within rural and urban areas because of deprivation. Someone who lives in a rural village is expected to live longer than someone living in a town in a rural area and someone living in a deprived urban area is less likely to live as long as someone brought up in a leafy city suburb. which tried to take deprivation into account, overall life expectancy was higher in rural areas, but the very highest life expectancies were found in the wealthiest urban areas. Green and pleasant? It is easy to romanticise the countryside and see it as a green, rural idyll which is quiet and stress-free. But even if that was true (ever listened to The Archers? ), it can bring its own issues. With an older population on average living in rural areas, loneliness and isolation can become a problem as people age.
For the elderly and unwell without a car or public transport, and distanced from GP surgeries, hospitals and local amenities, country living can become a serious challenge. Even younger working people, attracted by the promise of more indoor and outdoor space, can find themselves spending hours commuting every day. They may also end up spending more time in a car in order to get around, thereby creating more pollution and doing less exercise. What\’s your view? Join the conversation on our. Prof Andy Jones, professor of public health at University of East Anglia, says research shows that urban residents do walk more than rural residents – to the shops and to work, for example – \”but these don\’t translate to health benefits\”. \”In urban areas there is lots more going on, but more deprived people don\’t have access to the opportunities. \” In the end where you live is a personal choice based on a number of different factors including jobs, financial means, health and lifestyle, says Prof Jones. \”If you\’re living in a place where you are isolated and don\’t have the finances to support yourself, it doesn\’t matter where you live. \”You can be just as isolated in a city centre as in a rural setting. \”