Being faced with a dull, grey and gloomy view isn’t much of a mood lifter, particularly during the winter season. New research has emerged which claims that scenic views are good for us, boosting our general health. Whilst being exposed to fresh air and being outdoors have long been associated with better health, this study from the Warwick Business School shows that ‘scenic’ locations do not necessarily have to involve large amounts of greenery. Those living in urban locations can enjoy scenic views too.

Scenic-or-Not

The researchers used data featured in an online game called ‘Scenic-or-Not’ in which players observed 210,000 photos of Britain and then rated them in terms of ‘scenicness’. The data was then compared with 2011 census data in which people had answered questions about whether their general health was good or bad. This determined the areas which were considered both scenic, and where residents had good overall health. The research found that “people report better health when living in areas of greater scenicness.”

Whilst rural areas feature more green space than urban areas, the research found that “the most scenic photos do not contain the highest proportion of the colour green. Instead, very scenic photos also tend to contain large proportions of grey, brown and blue – perhaps corresponding to mountains or lakes.” It seems that having a view to look at, no matter where we are, could be the key to boosting our general health, without having to pack up and move to the countryside. The views around us are often an important factor when looking for somewhere to live, and this research demonstrates an important consideration for property developers when scouting sites for new developments.

How to make the most of green space near you

If you’re not fortunate enough to have a scenic view outside your window, there are still plenty of ways in which you can reap the health benefits of scenic views. In Richmond, we are fortunate to have the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks right on our doorstep, with plenty of views to enjoy and explore. Taking some time to go for a walk, enjoying a warm drink whilst overlooking the scenery, or indulging in a spot of nature spotting can all provide you with great opportunities to enjoy some of London’s best views. Other places you may wish to visit and explore include:

  • Alpha Road Park (Teddington)
  • Bushy Park (Teddington)
  • Claremont Gardens (Esher)
  • Crane Park (Twickenham)
  • Kew Gardens (Richmond)
  • Wimbledon Common (Wimbledon)

Make the effort to get out of the house and take in some scenery as often as you can. This could be as part of your commute, or during a weekend activity with your partner or family. If you’ve got a dog, chances are you’ve already explored some of these areas, but if you haven’t got the space or are able to commit to owning a pet, you may want to take advantage of one of the area’s many dog walking schemes.

There is information about Richmond Park available on the website, as well as other beautiful scenic parks in London. Getting outdoors and enjoying some exercise over the winter period can help boost your health during the cold and flu season, so start making the most of the beautiful scenery in Richmond and enjoy better health now.