SUBMITTED BY JULIE PEARSON ANDERSON AND MELISSA FULLER for the Neighborhood Extra
June is the outdoor month. What could be better than freedom outdoors, especially after COVID has been contained? But with bugs, sunburn and allergies – what’s so great about the great outdoors? For good health, more than you think.
Importance of parks, green spaces for health. Various research studies have confirmed that community parks, green spaces and time outdoors are critical to creating healthy, active and sustainable communities. Echoing the findings of other studies, a 2022 study published in the North Carolina Medical Journal concluded that parks and green spaces improve physical health in a number of ways, often by creating environments that encourage active lifestyles and encourage physical activity Improve access to physical activity. The use of green spaces and outdoor recreation can also improve cardiovascular health, they say, by influencing risk factors such as cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and obesity. In addition to improving physical health through exercise, they note that many park-based programs focus on nutrition education and promoting healthy eating habits.
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Kids, play outside, get in the dirt. There is no better place for children than nature to engage in aerobic exercise like running and jumping and develop coordination skills like throwing and catching balls. Studies show that kids burn more calories outdoors, which helps prevent obesity and strengthen bones and muscles. And there’s no need to tell kids to stay out of the dirt when they’re playing outside. Scientists say that playing in the dirt is actually good for children’s immune systems. When children play in the dirt, they encounter antigens that trigger an immune response. Exposure to a variety of normal microbes helps the immune system respond better to foreign substances.
where it is in town Active outdoor opportunities abound through the City of Lincoln Parks & Recreation Department: 132 parks, 134 miles of hiking trails, nine pools, and five public golf courses offering multiple low-to-free activities, especially for families.
What else. If you’re looking for more active outdoor options, check out these:
• NeighborWorks Impact Bike Tour – 7 June, 5:30-7:30pm This guided bike tour showcases past major development projects, new construction and a project currently under development. The tour begins and ends at the Jayne Snyder Trail Center. Registration is required.
• Pioneers Park Nature Center – There is always something active going on outside in the nature center. Two informative buildings house hands-on exhibits and small animals. Edna Shield’s natural children’s play area offers children a place to dig, build and climb. All ages can walk the prairie trails or visit the bird and herb gardens.
• Community Fish Night at Holmes Lake – June 15, 6-8pm, sponsored by Nebraska Game and Parks. Rental rods and reels, bait and fishing lessons are available to participants free of charge. This is the perfect learning opportunity for people of all ages who have never fished before or have not fished for years. All participants over the age of 16 need a fishing license.
• Free Canoeing on Holmes Lake – June 30th, 5:30-7:30pm Life jackets, canoes and paddles are provided. Registration required.
protect yourself Enjoy the great outdoors this June, but don’t forget to protect your skin with plenty of sunscreen, protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses, and protect your health and the health of the community with a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have been vaccinated, you will stay protected with a third dose (booster) five months after your first dose. People aged 50 and over are also entitled to a fourth dose (second booster). Vaccinations and booster shots can protect you from serious illness and hospitalization.
Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln (HealthyLincoln.org) and LNKTV Health (LNKTVhealth.lincoln.ne.gov) bring you Health and the City, a monthly column that examines relevant health issues in the community and spotlights local well-being organizations affect the community. Send questions or comments to [email protected]
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