A Walk in the Park
When last did you visit a park? Local parks have been shown to be a significant health asset for both mental and physical health. In this series of “Park Blogs”, we explore why.
The obvious association with physical activity and its health benefits have long been reported by the research and public health guidance.(WHO, 2020) But are there benefits to just being in the park itself? Beyond the goodness of exercise for the heart, metabolism, bones, brain and mental wellbeing, what other benefits of being in “a large area of land with grass and trees, usually surrounded by fences or walls, and specially arranged so that people can walk in it for pleasure”? (WHO, 2021)
The research on time spent in the green space of an urban, district or neighbourhood park demonstrates the positive effects on in-the-moment observations of mood and an increase sense of energy and vitality. Stress measured through physical and emotional measures has been shown to improve in some studies. Relaxation and forgetting one’s worries are restorative benefits of time spent in the park. In the longer term, sense of personal wellbeing and life satisfaction are also positively impacted by a stroll in the park.(WHO, 2021)
So even if you don’t feel like an exercise session, a visit to the park could be just the tonic to lift the spirits. In the words of the Turkish playwright, novelist and thinker, Mehmet Murat Ildan.
Which park will you go to next?
Share your favourite parks and links in the comments below.
World Health Organization. WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015128
World Health Organization. Green and blue spaces and mental health: new evidence and perspectives for action. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2021. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/green-and-blue-spaces-and-mental-health-new-evidence-and-perspectives-for-action-2021
At Happll, we are all about Health Assets and Shares. Health assets are factors within you and your community that support your health and well-being. We love sharing about health assets around the world so please do share your favourite health assets with us here. Think outdoor green or blue spaces, places to exercise, socialise or just be. We’ve listed a few of our favourites below.