So church was full of women again, and your mother-in-law was gardening out back all weekend long, planting new trees. A coincidence? Apparently science says it’s not. These women are just doing what their instincts may be telling them is good for them.
It may sound strange, but it’s true. In two separate studies, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, both women who attend church regularly, and females who live with a higher exposure to vegetation tend to live longer.
The first study done by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) looked at greenery and living and dying. During an eight-year study period, women who lived in homes surrounded by vegetation were found to have a mortality rate that was 12% lower than women in the U.S who were living in the least green areas.
The study indicated that living with higher amounts of vegetation around you could also be linked with having increased opportunities for social engagement, higher physical activity, and lower exposure to air pollution, and thus lead to healthier lives.
I’m tempted to take these findings with a grain of salt, as when I’m out in the suburbs or having a stay in the countryside-two areas with increased vegetation- I tend to have lower rates of social engagements and I do less walking than when I’m living in the city. That being said, the findings, while maybe odd, seem pretty solid.
Researchers are said to have accounted for other mortality risk factors, such as age, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, and smoking behaviors, and still obtained their tree-friendly results.
The second study, which is to be published in JAMA Internal Medicine on May 16th, found that women who attended religious services more than once per week were more than 30% less likely to die during the 16-year study period than women who never attended religious gatherings.
The women attending services had significantly lower risk of both cardiovascular and cancer-related mortality.
Why is this? Researchers aren’t exactly sure, but they say that attending a religious group regularly could reduce rates of depression and discourage bad habits such as smoking.
Time to start attending that morning service in the park and planting those shrubs? Your call.