Columbia's green spaces positively affect physical and mental health

1 year 9 months 13 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
MOBERLY- The Moberly Police Department arrested a man on Friday afternoon after they received information from the FBI in Omaha,... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, April 20 2019 Apr 20, 2019 Saturday, April 20, 2019 10:08:00 AM CDT April 20, 2019 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Fulton man will be in jail for the next 25 years after he pleaded guilty Friday... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, April 20 2019 Apr 20, 2019 Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:47:00 AM CDT April 20, 2019 in News
GASCONADE COUNTY - The sex of human remains found in the Gasconade River have been identified as male, according to... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 8:09:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Sophomore forward Jontay Porter officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft via Twitter Friday. pic.twitter.com/AHj67OWmqi... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 6:35:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in Sports
ROCHEPORT - Missouri State Parks said a tunnel on the Katy Trail will be closed for at least another month,... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — High winds caused two power outages Friday evening that affected more than 1,500 customers, Columbia Water & Light... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 6:23:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Secretary of State’s office awarded a “Spotlight on Literacy” grant to Daniel Boone Regional Library for... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 5:46:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A well-known radio personality in St. Louis is facing sex-related charges. ... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 4:52:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
FULTON — A building on the Missouri School for the Deaf's campus may become the new location of a county... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 3:44:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County Office of Emergency Management apologized Friday after accidentally sending out numerous severe weather alerts from... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 3:03:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Attorney Stephen Wyse wants Governor Mike Parson to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the relationship and alliance... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 2:39:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education approved a new compensation plan at Thursday's regular work session. The board voted... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 2:38:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - With April 20, or 4/20, falling on a weekend this year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is preparing... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 1:56:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's House speaker said he doesn't plan on taking further action to discipline a House member... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 1:16:25 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
FARMINGTON (AP) — The wife of a Missouri Ku Klux Klan leader admitted Friday to fatally shooting her husband. ... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 12:48:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri and Chancellor Alexander Cartwright released the fiscal budget for 2020, including a reallocation of... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 12:43:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police took two drivers into custody Thursday night after separate chases. One involved a woman accused... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 12:37:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Police cited four businesses in the past two weeks for selling alcohol to an 18-year-old. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 10:45:00 AM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 61°
12pm 65°
1pm 67°
2pm 69°
3pm 71°