4 Ways Urban Trees Contribute to Outdoor Activity and Overall Health

4 Ways Urban Trees Contribute to Outdoor Activity and Overall Health

parent and child in new home community

November 1, 2021

Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to increase activity levels and find new ways to appreciate the community you live in. Ben & Annie’s Trees for Tomorrow, a San Antonio-based nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of trees in central Texas, knows just how much of an impact trees can have on home value, community pride and individual health—particularly in densely populated areas. With an abundance of trees, people are more likely to spend time outside. Learn more about the four ways urban trees contribute to increased outdoor activity and overall health. 

Stress Relief 

Studies show that natural, outdoor settings are effective in lowering stress levels in children, teens and adults. Being outside in a natural environment helps alleviate feelings of time pressure and mental stress, and taking a break from time indoors increases life satisfaction, happiness and mindfulness. 

Additionally, taking time to be with nature offers a break from stressful routines—and taking those breaks can help improve creativity, productivity and focus while avoiding chronic exhaustion and stress. One researcher found that for every 1 percent increase in green space in an urban area, there is a decline in residents’ stress levels


Greener urban areas like forests and parks provide a dedicated, safe space for residents and their families to get out and get active. When trails—paved or unpaved—are present, residents are more likely to go outdoors and use them. As we’ll mention later, the shade offered by trees on trails like this help make year-round outdoor activity a possibility for more Texans. 


Another urban foliage-focused study shows a direct relationship between tree cover and social interactions. Residents tend to spend more time outdoors when there is a significant tree canopy, and stay there longer. This trend in time spent outside can help people build stronger relationships with their neighbors, and encourage more physical activity outside—riding bikes together, walking their dogs together or heading to a park with their kids together. 


Texas may have the benefits of mild winter months, but our summers can be pretty brutal. When people try to get outside and get active in warm weather, they can overheat fast and need to head back inside quickly. But when there’s ample shaded areas in a community, residents are more likely to go outdoors year round. This doesn’t only apply to parks and green spaces, but urban areas as well. Evaporation from leaves can also cool a neighborhood by a few degrees during the hottest summer months. 

Don’t Take Trees for Granted

If you’ve grown up or currently live in an area with healthy trees, you might not even notice the impact they have on your outdoor activity and overall health. But once you realize the effect deforestation and lack of trees can have on urban areas and their population, you’ll understand why Ben & Annie’s Trees for Tomorrow are dedicated to preserving and expanding the presence of trees in central Texas.  

Whether you’re an area resident who’s interested in helping out or a builder who would like to join our partner program, there’s plenty of ways to get involved in the mission to end the displacement of trees during construction. Contact our team online or call (210) 670-5297 to get started.