“Where we live is a matter of medical interest,” says Jenny Rough, a writer for the Washington Post. How very few people realize this! Not many people are aware of an emerging field of medicine known as Geospatial Medicine, or simply called GeoMedicine, which seeks to entrench the practice of incorporating a patient’s place or environment history in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. This is fast-growing and scientists are optimistic that it will play a huge part in the practice of medicine globally in the coming years.
In recent years, research is increasingly proving that where a person lives and what their environments expose them to greatly affects their health and wellbeing – both biologically and psychologically. Amy Blatt, a biologist and geographer, asserted that “Just as a person has a genetic DNA, a person has an environmental DNA”. In other words, where you live either makes or mars your state of health. Again, “To help people achieve good health outcomes, we have to take into consideration where they live, work and play,” says Marie Lynn Miranda, head of the National Center for Geospatial Medicine at Rice University.
Where you live—your house and neighborhood—is a significant determinant of your personality, happiness, self-esteem, and wellbeing. The more comfortable you are with where you live, the happier you would feel about yourself – and the healthier you will be.
The following advice will help you make the most of where you live, and ultimately how you feel.
- Live In A Well Ventilated House
Recently a prospective client said to me, “Abuja houses are nothing but concrete prisons.” Sad but true. I had to prove to him how our company is deliberate about sufficient cross-ventilation in our homes. Good ventilation helps to control against the accumulation of impurities within your home such as air pollutants, bacteria, moisture, etc. and regulate indoor temperature as well as furnish your home with sufficient doses of oxygen.
Poor ventilation aggregates toxic air and particles within your living space which become harmful to your health. So, when choosing a house, look for one with thoughtful building orientation, that is, the positioning of the building on the land on which it sits with respect to the direction of wind flow in the area. If the building is well positioned, as well as its windows, which should be large enough, then all you need is to cultivate the habit of opening your windows when you start to live there.
- Avoid Densely Populated Neighbourhoods
Unfortunately, in the bid to create more living spaces, deforestation is on the rise. And with that, we lose nature’s gift of trees which help to minimize air pollution even in densely populated areas.
One typical character of a densely populated neighborhood is the fact that there is not enough good air to go around. And it is even worse if there are no significant numbers of trees around. So, even if your house has a good orientation, the environment will choke you already. Nevertheless, if for any reason you can’t immediately move out, plant a tree or two within your space—for the sake of your family’s health.
- Regulate Your Temperature Exposures
Different people respond to different temperature levels differently. Some people can thrive in tropical temperatures while some others cannot. Some people can’t withstand low temperature levels at all. So, it is advisable to install an air-conditioning system, room heater, humidifier and/or dehumidifier in your home so that you can regulate the temperature however best suits you per time. Again, at other times, despite these installations, allow for natural air to infiltrate the room to expel stuffed up (toxic) air.
- Expose Your Body To Natural Light And Negative Ions
A British study carried out on 400,000 men and women showed that those who lived near gyms, pools, sports centers and far away from fast-food joints weighed less than others. It’s no new knowledge that regular exercises help you to lead a healthy life, but equally important is deliberate exposures to negative ions which are air particles present in forests (dense trees populated areas), beaches and watersides, and exposures to them help increase oxygen levels in the blood, boost immune system, enhance vitality of muscle tissues and promote cell rejuvenation.
Maybe you’re asking: should I go to live in the forest, then? Certainly not. But you can hang out in parks, take vacations to such areas whenever you can and just savor the richness of nature. Nevertheless, make deliberate efforts to expose yourself to sunlight every day.
In conclusion, take seriously Dr. Marie Lynn Miranda’s advice to take into consideration where you live, work and play if you want to achieve good health outcomes. Also, do not forget that in talking about how where you live affects your health, we are also referring to your psychological wellbeing too. A study published in 2018 in Psychological Science suggested that higher self-esteem can result when a person’s personality matches that of his city or environment.
Want to live long and well? Mind where you live!