but green things sure are good for you!
We all know about eating leafy green vegetables, but that’s not the only green we should consider. New research indicates that growing up with green space is important too. Green spaces include parks, nature areas, woodlands, etc. The incidence of mental illness in adults who spent time with good access to nature from infancy to the age of 10 are 55% less than their peers that didn’t grow up with good access to nature. Let’s go over that again: the incidence of developing a mental illness in adulthood is reduced by simply being able to run on grass when you’re young! That’s a pretty powerful thing.
Mental illness is on the rise in the U.S. This has been attributed to our lifestyle, including screen time, increased stress due to work environments, and a lack of physical activity. This new research indicates that some of our inability to deal with these things might be hindered by our environment during our formative years.
What does this mean? Well, having green space as an adult might not be able to improve your ability to handle stress (although there’s some research to support this too). However, exposing your kids and grand kids to nature is probably a great start to helping them handle stress more effectively as an adult. Here are some good options:
- Walther Park-play on the new playground equipment or dip toes in the Joachim.
- Spross Park-walk the short trail, play some frisbee golf, and enjoy the sounds of the waterfall.
Other Outdoor Activities
- The Missouri Department of Conservation offers a great calendar of activities. This link shows activities within 50 miles of our 63020 zip code.
- Consider taking kids fishing or just turning them outside for a bit after dinner. (It was a great day when we realized our daughter was old enough to go outside unattended for a stretch of more than about 30 seconds.)
- Get a kit from the library. Ours this week: skip-it! If you demonstrate, you get the added bonus of looking foolish, which sends kids into the giggles.
Get outside. It might be hot, but that will soon subside as we slide into fall. Help your kids spend a little more time in nature. It might improve their mental health.