Being Outside Is Good For Your Health—But Does Golf Count?
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Being Outside Is Good For Your Health—But Does Golf Count?

There are many health benefits of spending time in nature—but what exactly does that mean?

By Betsy Morris
Tue, Mar 9, 2021 1:32amGrey Clock 2 min

In response to our recent story about the health benefits of spending time in nature, readers wanted to know: What type of nature counts?

 

The bottom line

Lots of studies indicate it is good for you to spend time in the woods. But what about the beach? The garden? On a motorcycle? What about a golf course? What if you don’t walk the golf course but ride in a cart? What if you’re having a really frustrating game?

Though hundreds of studies convincingly suggest that spending time in nature is good for health and longevity, scientists still don’t know exactly why. “What really is it about ‘nature’ that makes us healthier? We can’t nail it down to one thing that is true for all people,” says Christopher Minson, a University of Oregon physiology professor and chief science officer of NatureQuant, a startup working on an app for users to track the time they spend in nature.

Take golf courses, for instance. Those count as nature because they are green space. Numerous studies have associated golf with improved health. But is that because of the exercise or the nature? “No research I’m aware of has directly investigated whether the health benefits to being on a golf course can be attributed to nature itself,” Dr. Minson says.

 

The details

Beach time? It is good for your physical and mental health, according to a growing body of research. Adults in England who live in coastal areas “tend to be happier and healthier than similar individuals inland,” according to a study published in the journal Environment International in 2019. That may be partly because they were more physically active. They took more walks. The difference in onland physical activity between those living less than 5 kilometres—or a little over 3 miles—from the coast and those living more than 50 kilometres was equal to cycling 14 to 40 minutes a week at 15km an hour, the researchers found.

That wasn’t the only reason, though, according to the study. People living inland near “blue spaces”—rivers and lakes—also reported greater health and happiness that wasn’t associated with physical activity.

No, you don’t have to be exercising to reap the benefits of nature.

The practice the Japanese call “forest bathing” is strongly linked to lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones and decreased anxiety, depression and fatigue. It also is linked to decreased inflammation. Many scientists believe the benefits aren’t due just to clean air and less noise, but the substances released from trees, plants and soil. Those include organic compounds, pollen, fungi and bacteria that contribute to the diversity of microorganisms humans need for a robust and diverse microbiome—all the tiny living things on us and in us that protect us from disease. So just breathing the fresh forest air may help strengthen our immune systems, according to a review published in February in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The benefits don’t just occur in forests. Scientists define nature as all sorts of environments dominated by living material, from a small urban park to the wilderness, according to research. Their definition of “nature exposure” ranges from plants in a room to camping trips to virtual reality.

That means you are likely to get some nature benefits from gardening, kayaking or even on a motorcycle, assuming it’s out in the country, says Dr. Minson. A lot more research is needed to know just how much.

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Average prime rental values jumped by 5.9%, with some cities seeing jumps of more than 50%

By V.L. HENDRICKSON
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The growth of luxury rental prices outpaced the sales market in top global cities last year, according to a report Monday from Savills.

Average prime rental values jumped by 5.9% in 2022 across the 30 world cities analyzed in the report, the data showed. Limited inventory and increased demand pushed rents higher, while capital values saw an average of 3.2% rise during the year.

“Rental growth came as people continued to return to cities after the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, and as rapidly rising interest rates in the latter half of 2022 meant that more people chose to rent,” Lucy Palk, an analyst at Savills World Research, said in a statement. “The rebound in international travel was a factor too, by the end of 2022 international arrivals had recovered to between 75% to 80% of 2019 levels.”

Meanwhile, average rents were up 10% or more in cities such as Singapore, New York, Dubai and Lisbon, Portugal, the report said.

For example, in New York, the median rent for properties in luxury, doorman buildings spiked 53% to almost $5,000 at the end of last year compared to $3,270 in December 2020, the figures showed.

And in Singapore, prime rents shot up by 26.2% annually as the country opened its borders and students, expats and high-net-worth individuals flooded the city. “Delayed completions of new prime stock further contributed to the significant rental rise seen in 2022,” the report said.

Climate, quality of life and strong business environments have been big draws for Lisbon and Dubai last year, where luxury rents were up 25.4% and 22.9%, respectively, according to the report.

The two strongest performing cities in the Asia Pacific region last year were Seoul, with 4.9% rental price growth, and Tokyo, 4.1%, the data showed.

On the flip side, Hong Kong had the lowest rental growth for luxury properties. The country is still subject to Covid-19-related restrictions, and has yet to see the full return of international tenants. In addition, rising interest rates have undermined consumer confidence.

“This suppressed transaction volumes causing pricing declines across all price brackets except the ultra-prime residences,” the report said. “Average prime prices fell by 8.5% in 2022.”

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