The Effect of Viewing a Landscape on Physiological Health of Elderly Women
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A quasi-experiment was undertaken to measure physiological characteristics of elderly women as they viewed different landscapes. Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored as elderly women living in a retirement centre viewed a natural landscape, a built landscape, and a control room with no view to the outside. Other characteristics of the individuals and the settings that have been shown to affect blood pressure and heart rate were controlled. The results indicated that, in all cases, viewing the natural landscape resulted in lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures and lower heart rates than those measured in the control room. Viewing the built landscape also had the general effect of lowering blood pressures and heart rates, but the effect was less consistent and the magnitude was smaller than that caused by the natural landscape. Lowering of blood pressure and heart rate have both been shown to be positively correlated with increased health and well-being, indicating the benefit of simply viewing a landscape. These results have important implications for design of housing for the elderly. Even if individuals are unable or unwilling to go outside, they can still benefit from seeing out into a landscape. Copyright © by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
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