UAB researchers found that spending 20 minutes in an urban park would make someone happier – whether or not he exercised during the visit.
Researchers at the University of Alabama of the Occupational Therapy Department in Birmingham have released new findings suggesting that spending 20 minutes in an urban park would make someone happier, whether it's getting into exercise or not during the visit.
According to the study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, urban parks have been recognized as key neighborhood locations offering residents the opportunity to experience nature and participate in to various activities. Through contact with the natural environment and participation in health and / or social and recreational promotion activities in the parks, users benefit from physical and mental health benefits, such as: as reducing stress and recovering mental fatigue.
The principal investigator, Hon K. Yuen, Ph.D., OTR / L, professor at the UAB Occupational Therapy Department, said the project was originally intended to validate the results of previous research on the impact of the park visit on emotional well-being, and evaluate the contribution of the choice to participate in physical activity in the park with respect to emotional wellbeing after visiting the park.
"Overall, we found that park visitors reported an improvement in their emotional well-being after visiting the park," Yuen said. "However, we did not find any link between levels of physical activity and the improvement of emotional well-being. Instead, we found that the time spent in the park is related to an improvement in emotional well-being. "
The co-author and department chair, Gavin R. Jenkins, Ph.D., OTR / L, said that this meant that potentially everyone could benefit from the time spent in a park. If you can not be physically active because of your aging, disability or any other limitation, the study indicates that a person can still obtain health benefits simply by going to a local park.
Participants in the study were adult visitors from one of three urban parks – Overton, Jemison and Cahaba River Walk Walk – in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Data were collected from 98 adult park visitors; four visitors reported participating in this study twice. Data from the second participation were excluded, allowing 94 unique participants to participate in the study. These parks were selected for study as they were the top three public parks in Mountain Brook and received a relatively high number of visitors per day.
Yuen added that the lack of objective data to measure emotional health and limit the study to three urban parks during a six-month data collection period was among the limitations of the study. ;study.
Despite a small study, Jenkins said the importance of these results helps to reinforce the need to create more urban parks and preserve existing ones.
"The pressure on green spaces is increasing in urban areas," Jenkins said. "Planners and developers are looking to replace green spaces with residential and commercial properties. The challenge facing cities is that there is more and more evidence about the value of urban parks, but we continue to witness the disappearance of these spaces. "