A study has found that living near parks could extend your life.
Researchers in the US found that exposure to green space over time helps slow down how fast people age.
They tested around 924 adults’ DNA to measure their biological age and compared how closely they lived to parks from 1985 to 2006.
Dr Kyeezu Kim, of Northwestern University, said: “We found a relationship between greenness and slower epigenetic ageing.
“Cumulative exposures to greenness may play a role in slower epigenetic ageing later in life.”
Epigenetic ageing — as opposed to chronological ageing — is a measure of how much our bodies have aged.
Instead of simply examining your date-of-birth, scientists now measure DNA in order to find out how many cells, organs and tissues you have lost over the years.
A lower epigenetic ages means the body has a better functioning than you might expect.
Research has shown that living close to green areas can reduce the risk of developing dementia.
This latest research, published in Science AdvancesIt was also examined how this could influence how fast you age in general.
It tracked people’s residence in four US cities, including Birmingham, Alabama (USA), Chicago, Illinois (USA), Minneapolis, Minnesota and Oakland, California.
Researchers used GPS data to determine how close they lived in the past 21 years to green space and parks.
After 15 years and 20 year blood tests were performed to determine the biological age of participants.
People who live within 5kms of a park age less rapidly than people who are further away.
The study, according to independent experts, shows that cities need better access to parks.
Dr Mirjam Schindler, of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, said: “The study suggests that living near green spaces may lead to slower epigenetic ageing.
“I am thrilled to see further evidence quantifying the benefits provided by green spaces and their pivotal role in creating healthy living environments.
“It provides valuable insights that urban planners and decision-makers need to take note of, especially in the ongoing discussions on housing strategies.
“The study reinforces the urgency of creating ample, high-quality green spaces that meet residents’ needs, ensuring their accessibility and the subsequent reaping of benefits.”