A walk in the park

If you can’t decide whether you should walk on a treadmill, on the street or in a park, choose the greener option. New retìm kiếm shows it yields greater benefits for your mind và body toàn thân. In fact, a growing number of doctors nationwide write their patients “nature prescriptions” to encourage people to lớn get outdoors lớn improve their health.

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“If I have sầu someone in front of me at risk of chronic disease with sedentary behavior, I’m going to ask that question: Where vày you lượt thích to be outdoors, & what vị you lượt thích to bởi vì outdoors?” says Dr. Robert Zarr, founder & medical director of Park Rx America, a platsize which offers health professionals the means to prescribe visits to lớn parks or other outdoor green spaces to lớn their patients, to lớn help them boost their happiness levels, lower their bít tất tay levels and reduce their risk of chronic disease. “I’m looking for changes in routines that are healthy lifestyle behaviors,” says Zarr, which could be as simple as a daily walk in a park.

Here, three reasons to lớn up your step count in a green space:

A recent study found people who frequented urban parks for an average of trăng tròn minutes reported significant increases in life satisfaction after their visit. “We suspect that the improvement is thanks to a reduction in bức xúc levels,” explains study author Hon Yuen, PhD, professor và director of retìm kiếm at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s department of occupational therapy.

What’s more, “the natural setting of parks elicits a variety of experiences that facilitate spiritual expression, including a sense of wonder và awe, peacefulness, calm, stillness and/or tranquility,” says Diamãng cầu Allen, chief of the National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People initiative sầu.

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A growing body toàn thân of research shows green spaces have positive effects on cardiovascular health: A Finnish study showed visiting urban forests or parks is better for heart health than visits khổng lồ built-up urban city centers. Women who visited natural environments had lower blood-pressure levels và heart rates. A Japanese study found people who sat in forests had lower blood-pressure, heart rates & levels of the bít tất tay hormone cortisol, compared lớn people in urban environments.

“There are also studies that demonstrate blood pressure being lowered more effectively on a walk in the woods versus the city,” Allen says. “There are more than 400 national parks across the country, which provide more than 300 million visitors with countless opportunities to lớn find health, healing and happiness.”

Your local park is infinitely more exciting to lớn the senses than a treadmill. “By being outdoors you use more of your senses, taking in the changing seasons and dynamic surroundings,” says Zarr. Thus, it can be a great size of therapy and motivation for sticking with exercise. “There has been growing evidence that when people engage in physical fitness activities outdoors, rather than indoors, they spend more time doing physical activity, which makes a svào case for encouraging outdoor movement,” says Allen.

If you enjoy walking in parks, adopt the habit as part of your daily routine. It can help you meet your physical activity goals while nourishing your soul. “It’s not that đôi mươi minutes is a magic amount of time that works for everybody toàn thân,” says Zarr, “but it’s important lớn bring it up as a base to rethink how to address your chronic áp lực.” Plan a trip khổng lồ your local park or go deeper inkhổng lồ nature by hiking one of these 23 national park trails.


Lisa Fields

Lisa Fields is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition, fitness & psychology topics. Her work has been published in Reader’s Digest, WebMD, Women’s Health, Shape, Self và many other publications. A former lifeguard, Lisa swims regularly khổng lồ stay in shape.You can read more of her work at http://www.writtenbylisafields.com/.