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The Observer - - WEEKEND -

Liv­ing close to na­ture and spend­ing time out­side re­duces the risk of type 2 di­a­betes, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, pre­ma­ture death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pres­sure, ac­cord­ing to re­search from the Uni­ver­sity of East Anglia. Data an­a­lysed was from 290 mil­lion peo­ple in 20 coun­tries in­clud­ing the UK, the US, Spain, France, Aus­tralia and Japan – where ‘for­est bathing’ is a pop­u­lar prac­tice. Used as a ther­apy in Japan, for­est bathing in­volves spend­ing time in na­ture sit­ting, ly­ing down, or walk­ing. The study found ex­po­sure to greenspace sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces sali­vary cor­ti­sol lev­els – a phys­i­o­log­i­cal marker of stress, while the di­verse bac­te­ria and or­ganic com­pounds with an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties present can ben­e­fit the im­mune sys­tem and re­duce in­flam­ma­tion.

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