Being close to nature is good for your health, well-being and enhances your quality of life. Multiple scientific studies indicate that exposing our body to green spaces can reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia; improve cognition; reduce mortality, morbidity and overweight; help maintain cardiovascular health; prevent some diseases; and benefit the immune system, among other physical and mental benefits.
In addition, green spaces in cities also offer ecosystem services that are valuable to human health. These include mitigating air pollution, reducing noise, increasing biodiversity and regulating the temperature by curbing the heat island effect.
Prescribing nature: a health proposal
DKV's proposal is to work towards creating a healthier world. And we are particularly committed to environmental care due to the close relationship between health and the environment. We already know that a polluted environment affects our body, but the benefits that nature brings to our health are less known among health professionals and the general public.
In some health consultations, such as in Japan and Scotland, health professionals prescribe exposure to nature alongside the traditional recommendation of a balanced diet and regular physical exercise. DKV Seguro's Healthy Nature project is a pioneering initiative in Spain that facilitates contact with natural environments and promotes recommending nature as a healthy way of improving general health.
Nature dose: a pioneering tool
Together with ISGlobal, we have developed an indicator to identify the degree of personal contact with green spaces. The application Quiero cuidarme Más by DKV includes a new nature dose indicator that informs users of the degree of exposure to green spaces. It includes personalised recommendations to increase contact with natural environments and the monitoring value.
How to immerse oneself in a forest: mobile-device guided itineraries
We do not need to go too far to immerse ourselves in nature. We can also expose our body to nature in the city by walking in parks or through tree-lined streets. Even the presence of plants in our home or in working spaces generate positive effects on our health and well-being.
To facilitate your exposure to nature in unique and accessible spaces, we have a list of tours through different nature parks and forest landscapes in Spain where you can immerse yourself. This compilation of itineraries is organised together with EUROPARC España and Forest Therapy Institute , and it is open to suggestions. The itineraries have been geolocated using track files that can be downloaded for free from DKV Seguros' Wikiloc profile and followed using a mobile device with Wikiloc's free app.
Scientific evidence: latest research on green spaces and health
In collaboration with internationally renowned research centres, such as Instituto de la Salud Global de Barcelona (ISGlobal), Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambiental (ICTA-UAB), and Centro de Investigación Ecológica y Aplicaciones Forestales (CREAF-UAB), we publish Blog360 de DKV articles that explore the links between human health and nature on DKV's Blog360, written by active researchers and specialists in the field. With the collaboration of BallenaBlanca.
DKV Health and Environment Observatory: special editions on health and nature
Prescribing Nature (2020)
As part of the evolution of the Healthy Nature project, a new publication has been produced which updates the scientific evidence on the relationship between exposure to green spaces and their effects on human health. It also delves into the various international experiences related to nature prescription, the value of the green infrastructure as a resource for health and the creation of the indicator for the individual dose of nature. With the scientific review of ISGlobal,, a leading health research centre in environmental epidemiology.
Forest bathing, a health proposal (2017)
This special edition of the Health and Environment Observatory gathers the beneficial effects of the exposure to green spaces, more specifically, forest ecosystems, according to the leading scientific evidence found to this date. It also includes instructions on how to go about forest bathing, interviews with persons of reference and arguments for recommending exposure to nature. Featuring the scientific review from ISGlobal, a leading health investigation centre in the field of environmental epidemiology.