Whether you live in the countryside already or you’re dreaming of a day when you can move there, there’s no denying the number of benefits that come from situating yourself in the wide green spaces of the country. From bigger spaces and stunning scenery to neighbourhood communities and peace and quiet, countryside living has a romance all of its own. But the benefits don’t end there. With many studies showing that living in the countryside can actually be good for your health, we take a look at some of the main factors that contribute towards this.
Cities have plenty of benefits, but air quality is certainly not one of them. Congested traffic, industry, and a lack of trees mean that pollution is especially concentrated in urban areas. These pollutants can do all sorts of damage to the lungs while also increasing the risk of serious illness. However, the further you go into the countryside, the more the air quality improves. This is likely to be because there are fewer cars and factories and more trees which help to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
Closer to nature
Studies indicate that being in close proximity to nature can have a drastic improvement on your mental health. One study found that virtually any form of immersion in the natural world heightens your overall wellbeing. This is because engaging with a connection to nature encourages feelings of being present in the moment, a mindfulness that is considered essential to fostering a sense of mental well-being. A survey by mental health charity Mind found that 94% of people who responded confirmed that spending time in green spaces and the countryside had a positive impact on their overall mental health, alleviating feelings of depression and anxiety.
For those dealing with the stress of daily commutes into bustling cities, long hours in cramped offices, and packed public transport systems, the idea of moving to the country seems like a great way to reduce the effect of stress on the body. But, does it work like that? Stress is a primal instinct, a survival function that the body developed to flee predators. These days, however, we’re more likely to experience that response in everyday activities, such as commutes or deadlines. It is said that reducing stress by meditating regularly or playing games such as poker or chess can relieve the physical reactions in the body such as raised heart rate, rapid breathing, and muscle tension, all of which are designed to get us out of trouble when we need to. It is believed that by moving to the countryside where life is a much slower pace, and therefore much less demanding, it is possible to drastically improve any mental health conditions that have occurred as a result of fast city lifestyles.
Higher quality food
Living in the countryside enables much easier access to farmers’ markets and farm shops, all of which carry the freshest produce on the market. Whether you’re looking for eggs, fruit, or vegetables, the abundance of healthy and organic produce available in the countryside naturally entails a healthier diet. Shopping at local farms means that food travels less of a distance to get onto your plate so it is much fresher and has a higher nutrient value than buying it from a supermarket. It is also much easier to grow your own vegetables and keep your own livestock as homes tend to come with larger outside spaces and there is a wider variety of allotments to set up your own vegetable patches in. Growing food in the countryside means they are also much less likely to be affected by pollutants found in bustling urban centres.
Of course, living in the countryside won’t make you immune to the challenges that life can throw at us, but it certainly helps to alleviate some of the aggravating factors that can cause health issues. This is why we love the countryside so much!