Green Spaces: Health Benefits of Open Space And Parks

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Green Spaces: Health Benefits of Open Space And Parks

The average American spends about 90% of their life indoors. We can be glued to our screens at work or be busy raising kids (or both!). But, nature has quantifiable, real health benefits. In this post, you’re going to learn the health benefits of open spaces and parks.


What is Green Space?


Green spaces are areas of trees, grass, or other vegetation set apart for aesthetic or recreational purposes. They include shorelines, forests, trails, rural greenways, conservation areas, and parks. Within cities, this might also include urban greenways, green roofs, and community gardens.

Moreover, interactions with green spaces like parks provide tremendous health benefits like:


Green Spaces: Health Benefits of Open Space And Parks


1. Social Health Benefits

Physical activity, bonding time, and fresh air are good for your health. Conversely, green spaces create a fancy, great outdoor space where you can relax and use this site to send postcards conveniently and quickly to your loved ones.

In today’s society, kids are occupied with school, extracurricular activities, homework, enticing television shows, social media apps, video games, etc.

Taking a break from all this and going to the green spaces gets your kids outside and away from distractions. Additionally, this helps kids develop critical problem-solving, self-regulation, and social skills.

You might also find new things to do at the park with your kids! Plan various fun playground games the whole family can play together. Try introducing your childhood’s park games to your kids, or if you’re ready for some fresh park game ideas, check out this list of fun activities.

  • Hopscotch
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Tug of War
  • Hide & Seek
  • Outdoor Bowling
  • Follow the Leader
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Red Light, Green Light

Moreover, parks help build healthy communities by strengthening community development and creating stable neighborhoods. Residents of neighborhoods with green spaces enjoy stronger social ties.

Neighborhoods with community green parks lose fewer residents over time and are more stable. Parks also boost “social capital.”

That’s when people create a park from a vacant lot or a community garden, and they get to interact and trust one another. The accomplishment of creating a new community garden helps people to believe that they can cause a change.


2. Mental Health Benefits

Green spaces can boost our mental health and reduce psychiatric problems. It would be best if you access parks and outdoor programming as a crucial way to increase these benefits on mental health and overall quality of life for your community.


3. Stress and Violence Reduction

Interactions with green spaces help reduce the stress levels of our daily lives by arousing a feeling of tranquility. People living far away from green spaces have a nearly 50% chance of experiencing stress than those living near green spaces. Moreover, green spaces help reduce instances of violence and aggression.


4. Improved Concentration

Green spaces boost our concentration ability at handling tasks at hand and handling our inner thoughts. It impacts:

  • Voluntary attention: Requires conscious efforts to avoid disruptions and focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Involuntary attention: The ability to perceive sensory stimuli from our surroundings.

In the past, people who were more attuned to nature had a better ability to detect dangers like predators. Staring at green spaces helps ease your voluntary attention and activates your involuntary attention, which ultimately charges and psyches you.

That’s why interactions with green spaces especially benefit kids with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A 15-minute walk in a park might improve their performance and concentration.


5. Physical Health Benefits

Green spaces improve access to exercise opportunities and create an environment that supports active lifestyles. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to increased cases of obesity along with obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and congestive heart failure.

Physical activity increases flexibility, endurance, and strength, relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression, enhances psychological well-being, and improves moods.

Overdependence on automobiles can discourage health-promoting physical activities like running errands, cycling, or walking to work or school.

Conversely, incorporating greenways and parks into communities help with healthier lifestyles and increased exercise. Trails, greenways, and parks make transportation corridors to offices, schools, and shops more attractive and pedestrian friendly.


More Rapid Healing

Dr. Ulrich, a professor of Architecture at the Center for Healthcare Building Research at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, examined how hospital window views affect surgical patients’ recovery time.

He matched patients with similar surgical procedures but different window views – one looking at a small stand of deciduous trees and the other facing a brown brick wall of the next building.

Those looking at the trees and green spaces had fewer post-surgical complications. They also had few negative nurse interventions, remained in the hospital for a short time, and used weaker painkillers than patients looking at a brown brick wall.


Leveraging the Health Benefits of Parks


Half of America’s adults have chronic health conditions, a third of the kids are overweight, and mental sickness affects another 50 million adults.

Moreover, The National Study of Neighborhood Parks, a national review of physical activities across the US, revealed that girls and seniors are two underrepresented populations in serious activities in parks. That’s huge! Fortunately, parks and open spaces can help decrease that worrying statistic.

Nothing increases physical activities and park use as much as supervised and planned activities. Various ways to solve this issue include more design, walking pathways, and better signage. But the first way to get people active in green spaces is through targeted programming.

For seniors, parks systems with enhanced programming and better trails provide encouragement, fun, and life-affirming companionship. Programs for school-age kids can help increase physical activity. Interacting with nature can complement indoor learning and enhance after-school education, too.

Moreover, park agencies need community partnerships with non-profit organizations, Business Improvement Districts, local businesses, schools, and people to improve access to parks, implement new-health promoting activities, and develop vibrant green spaces.

Some inspiring examples are the “Healthy Parks People” initiative and the “Leave No Child Inside” movement. These are designed to leverage green spaces’ health benefits through a physician’s written prescription.


Cities Must Green Up Now!


Grass, shrubs, flowering plants, and trees are integral to human well-being. They provide a place for people and pets to play and directly contribute to your physical and mental health.

All these benefits reinstate the importance of maintaining our parks, yards, and other community green spaces. So, as our cities continue to grow, state and federal governments should prioritize park development to guarantee locals have green spaces for kayaking, swimming, playgrounds, hiking, etc.


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