Saturday, November 14, 2015

Doctors getting behind ‘time outdoors’ Rx

Get healthier by getting outside.
Here’s another good reason to take your kids hiking: Just a 10-minute hike a couple of times a week can lead to better physical and emotional health.

MaryCarol Hunter, a landscape architect and ecologist at the University of Michigan, found in preliminary research that 10 minutes in nature at least 2.5 a week “is effective” in reducing stress, increasing one’s ability to focus, and improving mood and energy levels.

Thanks to this and similar research, some doctors are now prescribing “time outdoors” for ailments. Among those illnesses are obesity, anyone who feels sad, and those avoiding exercise because of asthma.

Robert Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care’s Upper Cardozo Health Center, is among those doctors. He and other health care providers, in fact, have developed DC Parks Rx, a database of Washington DC parks that help parents there find green spaces where they can take their children.

To find such green space near your community, type in your state’s name in the search box at the upper left corner of this page. A series of trail descriptions at national parks and several state and other parks will pop up (Please note that the descriptions are top heavy on trails in northwest Wisconsin, northeast Minnesota, and at national parks.).

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.