Benefits of being in our parks

Winter’s over, so it’s a great time to get out, explore our parks and soak up some sunshine. Getting out and being outdoors is good for the mind, as well as the body.

Being out in nature provides you with a lot of benefits, and we are highlighting six, to help motivate you out into parks this weekend.

  1. Quick pick-me-up

Ever hit a wall (figuratively!) at home or at work and found that once you walked away and came back, you could function better?  A change of view makes people feel better instantly. Being amongst nature and greenery can help calm and clear your mind, lowering stress and giving you that much needed recharge very quickly. Studies suggest that your brain gets an energy boost that is comparable to one cup of coffee just by spending at least 20 minutes in the open air.

  1. Encourage physical activity without much effort

It’s inevitable you’re going to be on your phone when outdoors; that’s the nature of today’s world. But whilst playing on your phone, you hear some birds chirping and you get up and walk towards the sound. Once there, you spot some pretty flowers and move to get a closer look. You then hear some leaves rustling and you head over to investigate. From being stationary, you now have walked at least 10 metres. It’s almost effortless to keep moving when in a park!

There is also a stark difference between cycling on a stationary bicycle and actually heading out to the park for a quick cycle; what you see, hear and smell can make a difference to your workout and can even encourage you to spend a longer time keeping active.

  1. Enhance your creative mind

Nature is unstructured and being in a park gives you the freedom to explore and discover different things. Since you’re not really focussing on one specific thing, you are allowing your mind to wonder or remain idle, allowing you to dip into memories, ideas and emotions; and that can actually be an inspiration in itself.

  1. Stay healthy

You’re more likely to feel better if you’re at a park where there’s fresh air, since you’re not huddled indoors breathing in recycled air.  Breathing in phytoncide, the airborne chemical produced by plants, can increase the levels of white blood cells in our bodies which helps us fight off pesky colds.

  1. Soak up some vitamin D

Exposure to sunlight increases the release of serotonin, a hormone associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. That’s why you instantly feel well when you step out of the house after being ill for a few days. While you have to take necessary precautions with being out in the sun for prolonged periods, the vitamin D you get from being in the sun helps the body absorb the calcium you consume.

  1. Learn about the environment

Parks protect flora and fauna and preserve local ecosystems; some species are even unique to each park! You get to learn about the environment in your own time and expand your knowledge. These can even be great conversation starters!

It’s definitely a ‘walk in the park’ when you take that much needed break from your fast-paced lifestyle. And if not for these six reasons (and there are more out there), parks help to release the inner photographer in you. The colours you see, when framed, make every photograph social media worthy.

Head out to your local park this weekend and see if you can top this list!


Sources: Outdoors is as good as coffee, Immerse yourself in a forest for better health, Victorian Government Health Eating