Friday, March 20, 2015

Where You Walk Can Affect Your Heart and Stress

Photo Credit: Amanda Mills
Can walking near green vacant lots lower stress? According to a study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the answer is "Yes".

Researchers found that study participants who walked near newly greened vacant lots experienced lower heart rates compared to walking near unkept, neglected vacant lots. Heart rates typically elevate when we are under increased stress and lower when we feel relaxed and calm.

"Our goal was to scientifically explore the connection between city environments and stress," according to the study's lead author, Eugenia C. South, MD, MHSP, a physician in the department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "We used heart rate as a physiologic marker of acute stress, and the reduction we found suggests a biological link between urban blight reduction strategies like vacant lot greening and reduction in stress."

Using heart monitors and GPS, researchers found heart rate reductions of 5 to 15 beats per minute (BPM) when people walked near greened lots compared to non-greened lots. These are significant differences according to researchers.

Lower Your Stress and Enhance Your Health:

Adding a walking regime to daily activities for most people is a health-enhancing, stress reducing action. The results of this and other studies suggest where we walk can influence our heart rates and stress levels. Choosing to walk in areas rich with green and well maintained open space may enhance health benefits above and beyond the physical activity alone. Always, of course, consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise activities.

Stephen Carter
Stress Solutions, LLC

Important Note: This and all other postings to this blog are for informational purposes only. This and all other posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, or otherwise recommend any treatment for any medical or psychological condition. Anyone using any of the information contained in this or any other posting on this website does so at his or her own risk. You are urged to seek competent medical consultations with appropriate licensed medical professionals for any and all medical or physical conditions.

Reference: Penn Medicine Study Finds Being Near Greened Vacant Lots Lowers Heart Rates:

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