Evidence shows that people are healthier, physically fitter and better adjusted, and children’s behaviour and school work improve, if they have access to the countryside, parks or gardens. Breathing clean air is a crucial aspect of this.
According to Public Health England, poor air quality in urban areas is said to be a factor in 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year. A recent report in the Lancet associates the noise and air pollution of busy roads with Alzheimer’s disease.
But fresh air, long considered a tonic, is not just about avoiding pollution. Toxicologists are discovering that air provided by nature is loaded with microbes produced by plants, fungi and bacteria that are beneficial to health and boost the immune system.
Bird, W. ‘Natural Thinking – investigating the links between the natural environment, biodiversity and mental health’. A report for the RSPB. (June 2007)
Chen, H., et al. ‘Living near major roads and the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study’. The Lancet, vol 389, no. 10070, pp. 718-726. (18 February 2017)