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Studies show a quick trip to the park can boost your mood

Marshall Park in Queen Anne. Photo by TIA International Photography

Marshall Park in Queen Anne. Photo by TIA International Photography

“I just need some air.”

After a long day at the office, a long car ride or a television binge session, you’ll often hear people say it. We know our bodies crave a dose of the outdoors every now and then, but why?

New studies from the TKF Foundation, an organization that supports creation of public greenspaces, found that spending just 10 minutes in nature two to three times per week yields health benefits. An Associated Press article published in The Seattle Times Nov. 29 stated that the foundation hopes to share the results of their studies in order to help urban residents deal with stress.

One study polled participants before and after spending just 10 minutes in nature. The participants reported having significantly less stress, elevated moods and increased focus after visiting the outdoors. In fact, the reported results matched with the participants’ cortisol levels in saliva, a stress indicator. These benefits were more prevalent in residential landscapes and smaller parks.

So what’s the takeaway? Basically, that small pocket park next to your work or bus stop is worth popping into. Seattle Parks and Recreation has dozens of small, beautiful, urban parks spread across the city like Marshall Park, Denny Park, Cormorant Cove or Ella Bailey Park. Cross through a park on your lunch break or on your way to the grocery store and reap free health benefits!  You can find a list of hundreds of parks and their locations here.

For more information on the TKF Foundation’s studies and to read The Seattle Times article, go here. For other recommendations on hidden park gems, go here.