We respect the gravity of the current situation with COVID-19 in Whatcom County and Washington State and have been tracking the developments. We are taking the recommended precautionary measures provided by our local and state health officials. The city has officially cancelled all “non-essential City-sponsored public meetings with more than 10 people” through the end of April.
In light of these decision, Recreation Northwest has cancelled our Parkscriptions Day event on April 26th. We will continue to promote people getting outside independently as part of National Parks Week and Parkscriptions Day with our public health campaign promotions.
The growing consensus that nature has many health benefits, including physical, mental, emotional and social health is even more important during difficult times like our current pandemic. We know that spending time in nature improves our positive outlook and specifically demonstrated benefits for symptoms relating to anxiety and depression. These symptoms may be increasing for many in our community at this time. We continue to encourage individuals to spend time in nature while also using the recommendations the CDC outlines for preventing the spread of the virus. We know that public parks and green open spaces have social, economic and environmental benefits for our surrounding communities.
In the words of one of our Parkscriptions champions Dr. Greg Anderson “for anxiety and depression, regular exercise in a natural setting can be more powerful than medication.” Now more than ever we need fresh air, as it is the best disinfectant and mood booster.
We encourage you to Get your Dose of Nature. Use the Parkfinder.org tool and find the park that is right for you.
Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff. There is scientific support for this. Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus.
How does nature exposure make people healthier?: Evidence for the role of impulsivity and expanded space perception – NCBI
Early research into the mediators of the nature exposure-health and wellness relationship revealed evidence that natural environments facilitate physiological, emotional and attention restoration . From this line of research, two complementary theories have spawned: Stress Reduction Theory  and Attention Restoration Theory (ART ). ART posits that nature exposure encourages effortless brain function, which facilitates its recovery from fatigue. SRT focuses on the role of affect. In particular, SRT suggests that exposure to natural environments facilitates positively-toned emotional reactions, which in turn have a restorative effect.
Although suggesting somewhat different routes to restoration, both theories emphasize that nature is psychologically restorative. And, consistent with this, the restorative quality of nature has been identified as a mediator of the effects of nature exposure on a variety health and wellbeing outcomes, including emotional wellbeing (see e.g., ) and mental health (see e.g., ).
While much of the research exploring the effects of nature exposure has focused on psychological effects (see e.g., [16–19]), there is also considerable research linking nature exposure to improved physiological health markers. For example, exposure to nature images has been linked to decreased oxyhemoglobin concentrations (which is believed to be associated with psychological calming) in the right prefrontal cortex , and favorable changes in heart rate variability . Physiological effects have also been observed in studies testing the effects of various nature exposure therapies (for review of such studies conducted in Japan see ). In addition to effects associated with viewing nature scenes or participating in nature exposure therapy, research has also found evidence in favor of positive physiological effects of basic environmental exposure. For example, sunlight has been linked to vitamin D production, release of nitric oxide, production of beta-endorphin, and regulation of circadian rhythms .
Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective – Science Advances
Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspectiveA wealth of studies has demonstrated that nature experience is associated with psychological well-being. These include investigations of single as well as cumulative occasions of nature contact, and range from experimental to observational designs. The forms of association include evidence that links nature experience with increased positive affect (26, 30, 32); happiness and subjective well-being (42); positive social interactions, cohesion, and engagement (43, 44); a sense of meaning and purpose in life (45); improved manageability of life tasks (46); and decreases in mental distress, such as negative affect (32, 47). In addition, with longitudinal studies, as well as natural and controlled experiments, nature experience has been shown to positively affect various aspects of cognitive function (48), memory and attention (30, 32, 49), impulse inhibition (50), and children’s school performance (51), as well as imagination and creativity (52).
Boulevard Park is a great park to for sunlight exposure resulting in vitamin D production. With several benches along the waters edge, this parks allows visitors to take a break while using your five senses to allow for a moment to be present.