A Healthy New Year’s Resolution that’s Easy to Keep
It’s winter, and with the dark mornings and nights come the usual coughs, colds, sneezes and generally grogginess that deep winter likes to bring along for the ride.
It’s no fun for those with these bugs, as I’m sure we all know from experience, but it also takes its toll on businesses, who have the higher numbers of absenteeism to deal with this time of year.
However, many common bugs and symptoms which thrive this time of year, such as coughs, colds, headaches, stress and a general feeling of being run-down, can be treated and even prevented in a very simple and perhaps surprising way.
The humble office plant may look fairly benign, sitting there in the corner of the room, but far from just making the place look brighter, they are actually working hard to keep us healthy.
- Research has proven time and again that plants can improve our mood and health in many ways. Here are some of the discoveries made by researchers over the years:Indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30% (Dr Tove Fjeld, University of Agriculture, Norway)
- Plants make you happy! When houseplants are placed in a room, people’s blood pressure becomes significantly lower, and they find tasks less stressful (University of Nevada Cooperative Extension)
- Plant-filled rooms contain 50-60% fewer airborne moulds and bacteria than rooms without plants (Dr B.C. Wolverton of the Environmental Laboratory of the John C Stennis Space Centre in the US)
- People working indoors with houseplants in their line of vision do tasks a staggering 12% faster and are able to concentrate better than people who don’t have plants in the room (Washington State University)
- Houseplants can reduce symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome by a quarter, and the results have been found to be long-lasting (The Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway)
If you need more proof, offices with plants have shown the following reductions in incidences of sickness compared with offices with no plants:
- Fatigue – 20%
- Headaches – 30%
- Sore/dry coughs – 30%
- Coughs – 40%
- Dry facial skin – 25%
Breathe fresh air
Perhaps the most important role a plant plays in improving our wellbeing is cleaning our air, and they do this in many ways.
Firstly, humidity levels are improved by the presence of plants, counteracting the drying effects of air conditioning and heating.
However, plants do much more than this to improve our air quality. They remove chemicals and dust from the air, filtering harmful particles, including compounds which have been linked to colds, allergies, breathing problems and more serious diseases such as cancer.
Through photosynthesis, plants emit oxygen into the air which we need to breathe. Plants also absorb, and therefore lower, levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other gases in the air.
According to a study by NASA, indoor houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.
Some of the main toxins affecting employee wellbeing come from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can be emitted from any number of pieces of office equipment and décor, such as computers and carpets. Research carried out last year in The Netherlands found that even a small amount of plants reduced VOC levels in classrooms by 50 per cent.
Put simply: we work better, feel better, are more creative and are generally happier around plants. What’s not to love?
Maybe you, like many of us, have resolved this New Year, to be healthier, or achieve more career goals, or to be less stressed. That dark and grey weather outside may make it harder to feel happier, healthier or more productive, but with a brighter, greener workspace, you may well stick to those resolutions, and hopefully avoid the doctors this winter.
This Blog was provided by Urban Planters