Park Visitors Attest to Restorative Effects of Nature

Jeffco Open Space logoResearch points to both the mind-clearing and brain-boosting benefits of spending time outdoors. Jeffco Open Space visitors provide anecdotal evidence of the restorative effects of nature.

“Spending time in nature gives you time to think, to get ideas in your mind that, with crowds and people around you, you might not,” said Allan Reid of Arvada.

A 2012 study found that people immersed in nature for four days boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50 percent.1 The results support what Albert Einstein once said: “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”

Dominic Dezzutti of Highlands Ranch is a believer. “Get out there in nature wherever it is,” he said, “because that’s what’s going to clear your mind, whether it’s a breeze, the sunshine or the view. You then get an idea that whatever you’re facing, you can overcome it.”

That sentiment is in keeping with 2007 findings from the University of Essex that in a group of people suffering from depression, 90 percent felt a higher level of self-esteem after a walk through a country park, and almost three-quarters felt less depressed.2

Time spent outdoors helps Jeffco Open Space visitors organize thoughts to make better choices. Said Rich Urbanowski of Lakewood, a frequent visitor to Mount Falcon Park,  “It helps me prioritize some of the things I have going in life.”

According to a 2014 Behavioral Sciences publication, “Exposure to natural environments protects people against the impact of environmental stressors and offer physiological, emotional and attention restoration more so than urban environments.”3

Of the benefit of time spent in nature, Hannah Mehsikomer of Denver puts it simply. “It’s a way to recuperate,” she said. “Everyone works too much during the week.”

1 Atchley RA, Strayer DL, Atchley P. Creativity in the wild: improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings. PLoS One 2012;7(12).

2 Peacock J, Hine R, Pretty J. Got the Blues, then Find Some Greenspace: The Mental Health Benefits of Green Exercise Activities and Green Care; University of Essex: Colchester, UK, 2007.

 3 Berto R. The role of nature in coping with psycho-physiological stress: a literature review on restorativeness. Behav Sci 2014;4(4):394-409.
Jeffco Open Space was founded as a land conservation organization in 1972 to preserve land, protect park and natural resources and provide healthy nature-based experiences. Funded with a one-half of one percent sales tax, the agency has preserved over 54,680 acres, and created 28 regional parks and 230 miles of trails in Jefferson County.

Jefferson County Public Health is committed to promoting health, preserving the environment and preventing injury and disease for the residents of Jefferson County, Colorado. For more information, call (303) 232-6301 or visit jeffco.us/public-health.

Will LebzelterJeffco Open Space logo_capra

Communications Associate

D 303-271-5961, C 720-556-3353

jeffco.us/parks

 

About the author /


Michelle Poolet

PLAN Jeffco Board Member. Michelle Poolet is a relative new-comer to PLAN Jeffco, but not to the world of volunteer work. She has been on the Board of PLAN Jeffco since 2008, and in that time has worked hard to ensure the success of various PJ conferences and events. She is part of the PLAN Jeffco web content subcommittee, and liaisons between the PLAN Jeffco Board and the Open Space Advisory Committee. Her “day job” is as President and Chief Enterprise Architect of Mount Vernon Data Systems, a BBB A+ accredited database consulting company. Michelle lives on Lookout Mountain, in unincorporated JeffCo, with her best pal, TessaRose the collie, with whom she enjoys daily trekking in the forests.

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