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Exercise in Green Spaces Helps Treat ADD
While research has shown that the most effective intervention for Attention Deficit Disorder is medication and therapy, there are also non-pharmacological interventions for ADD. Research has shown that they are effective, too. One such intervention is exercising in green spaces. Numerous studies have mentioned this as a way to alter brain chemistry, improve mood, and aid focus.
One study that was conducted by the University of Exeter and reported in Environmental Science and Technology followed 1000 people over a 5 year period. Based on surveys, the team concluded that people who moved into greener areas had improved mental health. The effect lasted for at least 3 years. How can living in greener areas or visiting green spaces be coupled with exercise for a positive effect on well-being and focus?
While intense exercise has proven effective for improving focus with Attention Deficit Disorder by bathing the brain in oxygenated blood, multi-year studies have shown that green areas are the best places to get that exercise. According to a study reported by the American Chemical Society, this type of exercise can improve "a sense of well-being" and even mental health. Jo Barton and Jules Pretty analyzed 10 studies that included 1252 people. They concluded that people didn't need to spend very much time in nature for the green spaces to have a positive effect on their physical and mental health. Just how much time is needed daily to show improvement?
Surprisingly, just 5 minutes of exercise daily, in a green space like a park, trail, or nature preserve can allow people to show significant positive changes in their mental state. The effect is even stronger when there is a body of water near the green space. So gather up the kids and the family pooch, and have some fun!
Plan some family outings. They don't have to be lengthy. Go fly kites, walk, run, or explore during a nature hike looking at plants and animals. You could also walk your dog and bring a little calm into his life!
Parents taking their kids into green spaces can serve a variety of purposes. You spend quality time as a family, which tends to strengthen family ties. Kids get some time where they can blow off the steam that accumulates during the course of a day. The children get the physical and mental health benefits from exercising in the green space of natural areas. Parents also get a benefit, since they also spend time in green spaces, while supervising their children. Since the whole family should experience better focus and mental health, the chaos that can reign in an ADD home may be calmed. That's an idea that we can all get behind.
American Chemical Society. (2010, May 21). In the green of health: Just 5 minutes of 'green exercise' optimal for good mental health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502080414.htm
University of Exeter. (2014, January 7). Green spaces deliver lasting mental health benefits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093323.htm
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Content copyright © 2015 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
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