Study: Parks Give Boost to Mental Health

We know exercising in parks and green spaces is a real boost to your physical health but a new study finds people who spend time in parks have better mental health as well.

We came across this article – “Living In Areas With Green Spaces Is Good For Mental Health, Study Finds” – and thought, “just another reason to support local parks!”

According to the Huffington Post piece, researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School tracked people who were moving to an urban area with green spaces versus those moving an area without many parks or green space. They gave the participants a questionnaire of mental health related questions and found people who “moved to urban areas with green spaces experienced mental health benefits even three years after the move.” (Read the full journal article.)

This demonstrates that not only does spending time in a park give us an immediate boost of “happy,” the effects of parks can linger on long-term. It also reinforces the value of parks in terms of a selling point for an area and an attraction for those considering moving to one neighborhood over another.

Granted, not everyone has a park around the corner (although we have 120 parks in the city of Charleston so you shouldn’t be far from one) but another study in 2010 found that spending just 5 minutes exercising in green space improves mental health and self-esteem.

So the next time you’re feel stressed, worried or just worn out, head to a favorite park and take a walk, sit on the bench or toss the Frisbee with your dog. If you want to go a step further, consider volunteering with us. We have plenty of Garden in the Parks events where you can do some pruning, weeding or planting and really get your mind off your troubles. We guarantee you’ll feel better!

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