Scientists from the University of Louisville in the United States have shown that living near green spaces, and frequent walks in parks may be a way to compensate for the negative impact of polluted air on the health of the heart and blood vessels, which reduces the risk of premature death. This is reported in an article published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. The scientific work is summarized in a press release on MedicalXpress.
The researchers analyzed arterial stiffness in adult volunteers with comorbidities such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, which places participants in the medium or high risk categories for heart disease. In addition, environmental factors of where the volunteers lived, including vegetation index (a measure of vegetation levels), particulate matter and ozone concentrations in the air, were taken into account.
When particulate matter and ozone levels were high, participants showed higher arterial stiffness, but those who lived in areas with more green space had better blood vessel function. At the same time, the effect of vegetation remained high even when the volunteers’ lifestyles were taken into account.