Green spaces for well-being

An aerial photo showing the new look Uhuru Park.

An aerial photo showing the new look Uhuru Park. Green spaces are characteristic of the countryside but they diminish with the rise in urbanisation.

Photo credit: Robert Gichira | NMG

Green is associated with freshness, organicity, life, nature and health. It could also mean renewal in a similar context. Generally, it denotes well-being. This space is often regarded as a luxurious distraction.

The fast-paced life makes everything look like an emergency; thus, we retreat to empty shells by trading our mindfulness and rest in the loop of schedules. 

We need to be who we are from the basic level before we become who we want to be. Science has proved that we are biophilic. It is inherent in us to have a high affinity for natural habitats. 

Green spaces are characteristic of the countryside but they diminish with the rise in urbanisation. Kenyan urban planners have tried to create a makeshift ambience by preserving nature reserves and parks.

The flora here filters air pollution by producing oxygen, making it crisp. They also provide an opportunity for physical activity, and people who frequent these areas have a low obesity prevalence. 

When we interact with nature and forget hygiene for a minute, the immune system is challenged to pick up new data so that it does not react to everything foreign that comes its way, including false triggers. Immuno-regulation is especially harnessed in childhood when children interact with a vast range of natural antigens in green spaces.

Their bodies can tell apart harmless triggers and harmful agents. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal show this is crucial in preventing autoimmune disorders and hypersensitivity. Lack of regulation of the immune system also increases C-reactive protein, a catalyst of chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

People in urban areas with ample green space coverage enjoy a high extent of porosity and noise buffering, managing insomnia caused by noise pollution.

Green spaces also create an opportunity for interaction, boosting mental health. With regard to psychological effects, they are aesthetic to the eye, which in turn promotes mental relaxation. 

Green spaces should be prioritised.

Ms Hinga, a microbiologist, is a medical representative. [email protected].