With spring often comes sneezing, sniffly noses, and lots and lots of pollen, but it also begins the season in which we can comfortably venture outside for some sunshine again. While it may be tempting to stay inside to avoid all the pollen and the re-emerging insects, several studies say you should do just the opposite. Spending time in nature and green spaces like The Parklands have been shown to have several health benefits that could make the runny nose worth it.
Just 20 minutes spent in parks, hiking trails, or by water can help improve your mood and mental health. Winter can bring seasonal depression and can make getting outside hard even after the winter has passed, but even just sitting in the sunshine for a little while can make a huge difference. When coupled with exercise, like a walk around the Egg Lawn or a hike through one of our 60+ miles of trails, scientists saw a further increase in mood, stress relief, and improved mental health.
Exercising in nature can have additional physical health benefits beyond the obvious. While exercising in nature can do things like lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and create stronger and more resilient bodies, it also can improve sleep and boost overall immune function. Many researchers believe that exercising and spending time outside daily reinforces our natural circadian rhythm, which may be irregular due to spending extended periods of time indoors. This can lead to better sleep and more energy during the day.
The physical benefits of exercising in green spaces combined with the mental health benefits of parks like this lead to a happier, healthier you. It can lower risk of cardiovascular disorders due to stress or inactivity, increase mental and physical resiliency and strength, and create endorphins leading to a higher feeling of satisfaction and increased motivation to continue exercising.
As warmer weather becomes more common, take this opportunity to go for a walk, hike, or bike ride in The Parklands. Make it a family trip and play games or throw ball in our common areas like the Egg Lawn. Gather your friends for a picnic. Spend some time alone to recenter and meditate. There are so many ways to make exercising in nature fun! Why pick just one?