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400,000+ READERS leisure opportunities 21 JAN – 04 FEB 2014 ISSUE 624 Daily news & jobs: Study reveals benefits of green spaces in urban areas

Living in an urban area with green spaces has a better impact on mid-to long-term mental wellbeing than win- ning the lottery, a study has suggested. Researchers from the

European Cent re for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) found moving to a green space has a sustained positive effect for three years or longer. In comparison, pay rises,

promotions, or even lucrative lottery wins, only provided a 6-12 month boost to men- tal wellbeing before they returned to base levels. Te findings, which appear

and stave off problems ampli- fied by chronic stress, like obesity, smoking and drink- ing,” said Dr Bird, who also helped set up the ECEHH, “The serenity, cleanliness, recreation opportunities and social interactions afforded by green space can all help us live longer by offsetting stress and anxiety – that’s why properties with pleas- ant views command higher price tags.” Dr Bird cited a famous

Te study used data from the British Household Panel Survey, which began in 1991

in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, suggest that access to good qual- ity urban parks is beneficial to public health. According to Dr William Bird, a GP and the CEO of Intelligent Health, it all comes down

Virgin Active investing £100m into UK sites

Virgin Active will invest £100m in its UK sites over the next three years as part of a campaign to lure post- Christmas gym users to sign up as well as advanced preparation for an eventual stock market flotation. Te company said it will use the

investment to refurbish its gyms and install a host of new equipment between now and 2017. Te investment programme builds

on the £15m spent by Virgin last year to open nine upmarket gyms – known as its classic collection – to attract more customers. Details:



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to human origins as outdoor hunter gather- ers, a lifestyle our bodies are still in tune with. “We’re not quite sure why, but constant

stress seems to be offset by nature, which helps to recharge the biological batteries in our cells

Confusion over 2022 World Cup dates

FIFA’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, has said that the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022 will be moved from the traditional summer date (June-July) over fears that the temper- ature would have an adverse effect on both fans and players. FIFA president Sepp Blatter had already

expressed a desire to host the tournament in November or December but organisers had still hoped to host it during the summer of 2022. “Te dates for the World Cup (in Qatar)

will not be in June-July,” said Valcke speak- ing to Radio France. “If you play between 15 November and the end of December that’s the time when the weather conditions are best,

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Valcke says the World Cup will be moved from summer

when you can play at temperatures averaging 25 degrees.” However FIFA has released a statement saying

that no decision had been taken on the timing. Continued on back cover

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study conducted by Kaplan and Kaplan on Attentional Restoration Theory, which found green spaces have a positive impact on concentra-

tion levels and health. “Health authorities should make a contribu-

tion to green space preservation, as they benefit financially from the improvements to public health,” he added. Details:

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