Nature attracts and heals us. Have you noticed that a walk in the park after a hard day at work instantly calms your mind? Or, when choosing a hotel room, you always prefer the one with windows overlooking natural surroundings? And when you want to calm yourself when you become stressed, you imagine yourself being in a cosy natural spot. Nature has incredible effect on us as evidenced by numerous scientific studies.
The valuable human-nature relationship
The relationship between humans and nature is special and multi-faceted, spanning millions of years. Numerous scientific studies are conducted around the world on a constant basis in order to better understand the essence and benefits of this relationship.
A study conducted in China aimed to investigate the effect of short forest walks on the body. It showed that the habit of forest walking reduces stress and blood cortisol levels and boosts energy.
An Australian study of the group of school-age children showed that children who spend more time outdoors have better eyesight than those who spend much of their time indoors. Being outdoors lowers the risk of such eye problems as short-sightedness or farsightedness.
Numerous studies show that nature have an incredible effect on our mental wellbeing. When faced with problems, people tend to resort to sedatives instead of simply taking a nature walk. The experiments conducted by the U. S. scientists demonstrated that nature walks or views of nature improve concentration, boost memory, and help in emotional regulation. This is further evidenced by a subsequent study by another group of scientists who found that being outdoors is especially beneficial for people suffering from depression. The subjects who took a nature walk reported an improvement in mood, felt more motivated and were more likely to recover.
Another U. S. study found that people who live close to parks or who can spend time in other recreational spaces are less likely to be overweight or obese. Engaging in exercise or other physical activity outdoors is also associated with lower BMI (body mass index) and reduced fatigue.
New property development projects closer to nature
Being aware of the unquestionable health benefits of contact with nature, the real estate development company Realco pays special attention to the creation of green spaces around the apartment buildings built by the company. “Also, locations in close proximity to parks and small forests has become one of our main priorities when selecting a site for our new housing developments. We are very happy that Vilnius has numerous green areas and we can feel a connection to nature even in a large city,” said Kristina Grubliauskaitė-Svitojė, marketing project director at Realco.
Žvėryno Panoramos which is currently in its final stage of completion offers housing units in close proximity to natural surroundings. This residential quarter is located on the border of Karoliniškės Landscape Reserve, a huge state-protected green area in the midst of the city. It is perfectly equipped for the recreational needs of Vilnius residents. Many European cities could only dream of having green spaces of this size, and people living around it have a unique opportunity to combine the benefits of urban living with unique proximity to nature.
Karoliniškės Landscape Reserve
Karoliniškės Landscape Reserve was established in 1960 with the aim of protecting the unique natural spot in a rapidly developing city. It is one of the oldest protected areas in Vilnius totaling 162 ha. The reserve stretches across Karoliniškės and Šeškinė elderships, and borders Lazdynai micro-district in the south, and Žvėrynas micro-district in the east. The reserve boasts Raguvų Dugnų, Kalvų Keterų, Upės Slėnio, Miško Pakraščio, and Plikakalnio hiking trails. At places, this eroded hill chain has elevations of up to 178 meters above sea level. Karoliniškės Landscape Reserve boasts a mixed forest and lush greenery including numerous rare species of plants such as martagon lily, pale St. John's-wort and Trifolium rubens. If you decide to take a walk in the reserve, you can explore its natural surroundings and admire the highlight of the reserve, the striking Plikakalnis Exposure overlooking scenic views of the nearby greenery, Neris River and panoramic views of Vilnius City.
A few years ago the reserve saw the refurbishment of its hiking and biking trails. The project also involved the installation of information and directional signs, outdoor benches, viewpoints, cross-country skiing routes, and a venue place with a campfire, making the reserve a popular recreational spot among the residents of the neighboring quarter and the entire city.
The residents of the housing quarter Žvėryno Panoramos have a unique opportunity to live in close proximity to lush greenery and make the most of natural surroundings. A peaceful walk, a jog or a bike ride in nature will not only be a meaningful free time activity but also will help you relax, reduce stress levels and improve your physical and mental wellbeing.