A walk in the woods and green spaces is likely to trigger changes in the levels of excitement, engagement and frustration in the brains of the elderly people living in urban areas, a study has found.
The findings have important implications for architects, planners and health professionals as the world deals with an ageing population, the researchers said.
“Urban green space has a role to play in contributing to a supportive city environment for older people through mediating the stress induced by built up settings,” said Chris Neale, research student at the University of York.
The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
For the study, the team recruited eight volunteers aged 65 and over and gave them a mobile electroencephalography (EEG) head-set which recorded their brain activity while walking through busy and green urban spaces.
The study revealed that the participants experienced beneficial effects of green space and preferred it, as it was calming and quieter.
“In a time of austerity, when greens spaces are possibly under threat, we have demonstrated that these areas are important to people’s health. Maintaining access to green space could be a relatively low-cost option for improving mental wellbeing of the elderly,” Neale said.