Certain things will always make you feel better: a piece of chocolate, your favorite rom-com, a stroll in the park… Well, according to a new study, it turns out that your proximity to nature (specifically, the amount of trees on your block) physically affects your health in ways we never knew. So we wanted to see what that means for New Yorkers.
Researchers in Toronto analyzed people who live in tree-dense urban areas (comparable to, say, the Upper West Side) against others who reside in more barren neighborhoods (sorry, FiDi). The result: Living in a verdant area doesn’t just occasionally cheer you up--it actually shifts your health and age perception entirely.
The study found that people who have 10 more trees on their city block feel, metabolically, the same as someone who makes $10,000 more a year…and is seven years younger.
Also, trees don’t just up our physical wellbeing--they improve our mental state, too. Another similar study determined that a 90-minute walk in a natural setting (ahem, Central Park) decreases the risk of depressive thoughts, whereas a 90-minute walk in an urban setting has no such effect.
So, what should you do? Probably just move to Queens. That one borough contains 41 percent of all New York City’s trees. Or choose from one of the other leading green neighborhoods like Prospect Heights, Yorkville or Gramercy (according to the data analysis blog I Quant NY).