Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Outdoor Play Make Us Healthier and Nicer!

In my mind nature play and getting kids outdoors fits into this larger quest to create a healthier, more conscientious next generation. A big part of the puzzle is actually providing natural areas for people to explore and relax in that are close to their home, safe and fun. We have all the hard working folks in Parks and Recreation to thank for most of the parks and open space we have to enjoy. The following Webinar is an amazing collection of presenters in park and recreation talking about how they have improved and quantified health benefits of nature. This is a tough thing to do, it stands to be an interesting talk.Following that are a few of my favorite health and play resources.

The NRPA Children in Nature Committee Presents: A Webinar

Doctors in Parks: A Prescription for Health
A free webinar for parks and health professionals,
and anyone supporting physical activity for health.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012, 2:00pm – 3:15pm EDT

Soil Contact Acts an an Antidepressant

I love working in the garden, so this just makes sense to me. But, now the research has proved it!  

Bacteria found in soil called Mycobacterium has been found to effect the same neurons as Prozac, offering people a natural lift in mood.  This is just one more great reason to get out in the garden and grow your own foods. Not a green thumb? Just spending time in areas with rich soil will allow you to breath in these great benefits.

Nature Makes You Nicer!

Increased time in nature makes one nicer, enhances social interactions and more. Someone actually did this study and I think that is fabulous. Get outside people!

Study: Weinstein, N., Przybylski, A. K., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). “Can nature make us more caring? Effects of immersion in nature on intrinsic aspirations and generosity.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1315-1329.

The Trust for Public Land: Health Benefits of Parks

The Trust for Public Land has also done some interesting work on the health benefits of parks. You can download their white paper here.

Does anyone out there know of other resources that have quantified the health benefits of parks? I would especially be interested in the health benefits of play. 

I hope you are Healthy, Happy and Enjoying your Parks.

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