INDIANAPOLIS – As the weather warms up and birds chirp and flowers bloom, don't forget to take some time to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.
Research shows it can make you feel better, inside and out.
Frances Kuo, director of the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois, says people are instinctively drawn to places where their ancestors thrived, but the current obsession with electronic devices, poor urban planning and disappearing open space means most folks are spending less time outdoors.
Kuo stresses it's especially important for children to be exposed to greenery. One of her latest research projects found symptoms of ADHD were reduced by using nature as a prescription.
"What we see is immediately after spending time in a green space, a child's ADHD symptoms might be temporarily reduced,” she explains. “And we also see that kids who spend time in green spaces generally have milder symptoms."
Kuo says the study found outdoor time has the same effect on children, no matter their socioeconomic background.
She states city planners need to keep that in mind when designing living spaces, particularly public housing.
Kuo says tree-lined streets, grass, gardens and parks need to be included, because for some children, it's their only exposure to the outdoors.
Kuo points out being exposed to greenery also reduces anger, aggression and violence.
"Greener neighborhoods tend to have stronger social ties among neighbors,” she says. “They have lower levels…
[+] Read More