Columbia's green spaces positively affect physical and mental health

2 months 3 days 10 hours ago Wednesday, July 19 2017 Jul 19, 2017 Wednesday, July 19, 2017 6:04:00 PM CDT July 19, 2017 in News
By: Lydia Nusbaum, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - For many, Columbia’s parks and trails offer a nice view and way to get away from the city. These green spaces don’t only provide beautiful scenery, but health benefits as well. 
 
Becky Stidham, the assistant to the Columbia Parks and Recreation Director, said, when there are trails and parks, people are more likely to come out and exercise.
 
“There’s been a lot of research done nationally that if you build it, they will come,” Stidham said. “The more access people have to parks, the more they exercise.”
 
She noted that many people have sedentary lives and constantly sit in offices or watch television. Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services said a 2013 study showed 28 percent of adults in Boone County were obese. 
 
“We’re getting fatter and having more diseases,” Stidham said.
 
She said nature is able to help people physically, mentally and emotionally. 
 
Evan Metry, a personal trainer at Strength and Conditioning Factory in Columbia, said exercise provides great benefits for the body and the mind. 
 
“For physical exercise you have a lower risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, which are the three main killers in the U.S. right now as far as health goes,” Metry said. 
 
To help encourage physical exercise, the parks department has amenities located at some parks and trail heads. 
 
“Not everybody can join a gym, because that costs," Stidham said. "So we put exercise stations outdoors. So that becomes a free gym.”
 
Other amenities include a skateboard park. Stidham said not everyone will use the skateboarding portion, but it will attract families to the park to use the trails.
 
"It’ll draw more people there because a mom might drop her teenager off there and then decide to take a walk on the trail,” Stidham said. 
 
Exercise doesn’t only help the physical body, but the mind as well. 
 
“It helps with depression. It helps with your mental health,” Stidham said. “You just feel better when you’re outside with nature and wildlife.”
 
Metry said exercise lowers stress hormones. Lowering the stress hormone helps decrease your anxiety and helps with depression.
 
"We all have super fast-paced lives so our stress hormone is probably through the roof and more than what we need it to be,” Metry said. "Exercise really helps to lower that and bring it back to a base level."
 
The parks department said it is still trying to develop parks and trails to encourage healthy habits. It said developing such green space can take several years because of funding and dealing with property owners. 
 
“It’s not a fast process, but once we build them we should treasure them,” Stidham said. 
 
The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department has around 70 parks located in the city. The department said it plans to have a park every half of a mile from residential areas. The department wants everyone to have access to these parks. 
 
“Part of our mission is to provide recreation for people of all ages, all abilities, all income levels,” Stidham said. 
 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A man was injured after being struck by a motor vehicle on New Haven road. The vehicle also... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 11:37:44 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A group is looking to bring a new residential neighborhood to Columbia’s westside. Subject to zoning and annex... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:07:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
OSAGE BEACH - Firefighters are turning over an ongoing case to federal investigators, according to Eddie Nicholson, the Osage Beach... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 8:10:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
FULTON – The Hair Hut is completely smoke damaged after a fire. Sue Jennings owns the salon, and she... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 6:52:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - With the autumn season starting Friday, the Missouri Department of Conservation has begun its weekly online fall color... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – An unknown man threw rocks through a funeral home’s vehicle and building windows on Wednesday around 4 a.m,... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 6:11:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - MU is holding students at a better rate than previous years, according to recently released data. According... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 4:32:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
FULTON- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) says America needs to have a bigger debate on the country's current foreign policy. ... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:29:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A private Catholic school for girls in Kansas City says it has disciplined a group of... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:23:16 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Residents, trail runners, walkers and bikers stood in the heat Thursday evening to learn detours they can take... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:16:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Some mid-Missouri residents who know what it's like to live through a horrific natural disaster have some advice... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:37:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Missouri congressman has heightened security to his office after a shooting at a congressional baseball practice... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:01:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
MOBERLY- Moberly Fire Department firefighters dropped down 8 feet underground Thursday to rescue two mock victims. “It’s a little... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 12:45:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations following the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer (all times... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 11:49:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - President Trump publicized his support this week for the replacement of the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:54:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — Jurors have convicted a Kansas City, Kansas, man of first-degree murder for being an accomplice in... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:45:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations after the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer (all times... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:24:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS — There have been more fatal police shootings in St. Louis in 2017 than for a decade —... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 9:35:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
2am 76°
3am 76°
4am 75°
5am 74°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:07a
The Insider
1:37a
Paid Program
2:07a
Today
1:00a
Top 30
1:30a
Page Six TV
2:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Masters of Illusion
7:30p
Masters of Illusion
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld