Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Boost Your Mental Health by Visiting National Parks!

MQTlogoa Today we have a guest post sent in by Sally Duke… Thank you Sally.. Photos are by Joe Todd from my western trip to The Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park,  and Zion National Park. A My Quality Time Post

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The United States is home to an impressive number of national parks – 58, to be precise, many of which have been deemed veritable oases of immense beauty. There are many reasons why visitors from all the world plan exciting trips our parks: the chance to de-stress, to get up close to stunning flora and fauna, and to have a different kind of holiday in which adventure and the great outdoors reign supreme. There is another, less touted reason why a holiday in which parks and natural spaces play a starring role, can be of benefit. Research has shown that time spent in nature benefits our health and the environment in many ways. In this post, we name just a few of the most fascinating recent findings:

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Grand Canyon South Rim: Desert View Watchtower, also known as the Indian Watchtower at Desert View………………………………………………………….

1. Outdoor exercise beats gym workouts: Research by scientists at The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has shown that there are physical and mental benefits to be obtained from exercising in a natural environment. Walking or running amidst verdant surrounds, or enjoying a swim in a serene lake brings us stronger feelings of vitality, greater energy and a sense of positive engagement, while it decreases feelings of anger, stress, confusion and even depression. Those who enjoy an energetic day out also report greater enjoyment than those who exercise indoors, and say that they are more likely to repeat the experience in the future.

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Mesa Verde National Park is the only American national park that protects man-made structures, as opposed to natural features………………………………………………..

2. National parks help us understand why environmental sustainability is so important: Nature expert and author, Richard Louv, is perhaps best known for coining the phrase, ‘nature deficit disorder’. The latter refers to the fragile relationship between human beings and nature. Some children spend less than an hour a day in the great outdoors and around 97 per cent of American children aged less than four use mobile devices daily. By the age of four, about 75 per cent of children have their own devices and half have their own television. Louv warns that excessive indoor time has dire consequences; the dangers of global warming become a distant threat, since children fail to value the importance nature actually has in their day to day existence. To encourage them to fight to make the world a better, greener place, he says, it is vital for them to enjoy nature daily. Our national parks have various Junior Ranger programs, which encourage kids to be more active and come into closer contact with the environment. In these programs, participants are taught about issues such as pollution and carry out practical work, such as analyzing soil samples.

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A foggy morning at Bryce Canyon National Park.

3. Park visits provide an opportunity to bond with your family: Many national parks offer guided trip to relatively unexplored parts of parks, which bring families closer as they enjoy the sense of embarking on a true adventure holiday. Seasoned guides will be able to cater activities to the ages of your kids and to different fitness levels, by ensuring that fun is always the primary objective!

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Top photos from left to right: Joe Todd, Linda (my better half) Larry H. (brother-in-law) and finally my sister Sara..  Bottom photos Larry and I behind bars.

4. Time in natural surrounds battles a host of mental conditions: Anxiety and depression are two conditions affecting millions of people on a global scale. These conditions know no ages or backgrounds, and can be very difficult to battle. If, in the past, health care professionals were quick to prescribe medications to treat symptoms, new research shows that a natural approach can often substitute or complement traditional therapies. The ability of nature escapes to lower stress hormone levels and enhance mood make this type of holiday ideal for those recovering from addiction and eating disorders, whose symptoms can be exacerbated by tension. From an early age, it is vital to enlighten children on the powerful mental benefits that nature can bestow and the best and most varied type of natural landscape is undoubtedly a national park.

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Riverside Walk accesses the notorious narrows north of Zion Canyon, making it one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park………………………………..

5. National parks provide a host of fun sporting opportunities: All national parks offer package-style adventures which include hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and many more activities based on the natural surrounds. Often, dedicated adventure guides will enable you to make the most of every day of your visit. Unlike the case of typical holidays in which sightseeing and dining are the main activities, a visit to a national park is a great way to increase your physical fitness while enjoying fun experiences that make it all seem effortless!

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One last view from the South Rim Of The Grand Canyon. Thank you Sally for this very informative post. Our National Parks are a real treasure.

camping Have a “Quality Time” Day and thanks for stopping by.

MQTlogoa 

Today we have a guest post sent in by Sally Duke… Thank you Sally.. Photos are by Joe Todd from my western trip to The Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park,  and Zion National Park. A My Quality Time Post

2 comments:

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your friend sent you a great post, perfect words of wisdom beautifully illustrated by your photographs. We too love our National Parks ... we all need to do what we can to protect them especially now. Along with the rest of the environment.

Elizrd bth Speaks said...

i wish we could be visiting one right now. i miss national parks ... not too many in VA ... most the my faves are out west. great views. ( :