When you’re looking for a new home there are a lot of things to consider. How safe is the area? How good are schools? Where’s the nearest supermarket?
Well now there’s another thing to add to that list – how many trees are on the block?
That’s right, a recently released survey of over 30,000 Toronto residents showed that the number of trees on your block can have a pretty big impact on your health.
The Reason The Trees-On Your Block Matter
The survey found that people who live near more trees tend to have fewer health problems and feel better.
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To figure this out, thousands of Toronto residents were polled online and then high-resolution satellites were used to collect data on the trees in their area.
It turns out that having just 10 more trees on your block can mean a big improvement in your health. 10 more trees translated to people reporting feeling 7 years younger on average. Or for a more objective measure, 10 more trees was correlated to a reduction in health problems such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Other factors that typically affect health, like age, income, education, and diet were all account for, so the difference was solely attributable to the trees.
But Aren’t Trees Just Kind of Hanging Out?
Of course, just because more trees were correlated with better health doesn’t necessarily mean that the trees are responsible. But there are plenty of good reasons to explain why they are.
For one, trees have a psychological impact. They can help you feel less stressed, and less stress generally means better health. They also might plausibly make physical exercise more appealing. I know I prefer running in the shade. A third theory might be their ability to reduce air pollution.
Of course, the authors of the study freely admit that it could also be that healthier people tend to prefer to live in greener.
What A Tree Means to Me
Personally, I love this study because I think the world desperately needs more trees. I love sitting underneath them in the shade. I love watching them grow. A big tree makes any childhood better.
The authors confidently recommend that municipalities increase the number of trees by 10 per block. Something they think is pretty feasible in many cases.
So the next time you’re looking to move, make sure you count the number of trees in the area. The more the merrier.
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