When you step out into greener spaces, doesn’t it just feel sooooo goooooood?! Researchers are backing up these feelings with findings that green spaces benefit us in many ways. I encourage you to read the full article on ideafit.com that summarizes the research. In the meantime, here are some distinct benefits outlined in the article by author Shirley Archer, JD, MA, that scientists have found to be associated with being in nature:
“Researchers theorize about why green exercise offers so many health benefits —including boosting the body’s self-healing through the immune system, giving the brain essential rest from technostress and overstimulation, and affecting our psychology and physiology through our innate affinity for the color green.”
With technostress being a real influence on many, regardless of age, it’s great to have tools that can counteract this. This begs me to ask the question, “If I’m documenting my walk at the park on instagram, am I getting rest from tech or negating the benefits?!” For the moments I’m on my phone rather than being present, quite possibly, yes! The author continues:
“Other positive aspects of green exercise include sensory stimulation, which awakens present-moment awareness; physical challenge and the self-confidence gained from achievement; a sense of play; and feelings of connection with nature and with the family, friends and pets with whom we’re sharing the outdoor time.”
If you’re looking to check out greener pastures, here are a few of my personal favorite green spaces around South Minneapolis, Edina and Richfield, Minnesota!
Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield, MN – Aside from a little highway noise (near 35W & Crosstown), it’s hard to believe this gem and all its wildlife is plopped right in the metro. With over 2 miles of walking trails, there’s lots to see and plenty of peaceful vibes. Get more info HERE. Open Sunrise to 11pm daily.
Centennial Lakes Park, Edina, MN – This is where I go when I want to be where the people are! Located conveniently off France Avenue between highways 494 and Crosstown, Centennial Lakes is usually hopping with activity. Lots of different paths to walk short or long routes and you can see the lake water every step of the way. Occasionally, you may run across live music, a farmers market or remote control sailboats. Find more information HERE.
Bde Maka Ska Park (Formerly Lake Calhoun), Uptown, Minneapolis, MN – First off, shout out to our awesome clients who work for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board! They’re the people who make many of these green spaces accessible and fun to enjoy! THANK YOU MPRB! Part of the Chain of Lakes, Bde Maka Ska is the 5k runners playground at a distance of 3.1 miles. Lots of people watching make this lake a favorite of many TC residents including myself.
Keep in mind that these studies are looking at being in green spaces as opposed to just outdoors like on a city sidewalk. Some examples might be the park down the street or the nature/hiking trail nearby. If you’re in Minnesota, green spaces probably include a nature/woodland area or one of the 10,000+ lakes!
What’s your favorite green space to get out and enjoy? What do you like to do when you’re out there?
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.