Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
Do you know what’s special about this picture?
Not only is it a cool tree cluster, it’s also a view from the Merrimack River Park on Rte 110 in Haverhill. And after several years, it’s a view that will be restored to visitors toward the end of July.
The Heartbeat of Haverhill joined a small cluster of neighbors, city officials, and state and local police to evaluate the park before it reopens. There were discussions on maximizing limited parking spaces, community patrolling and placement of permanent benches. It was a chance to point out that a neighbor, in appreciation of the reopening, took it upon herself to donate flowers for the entrance and the bulletin board. It was a chance to learn that one man who lives all the way over on Broadway, helped champion the park re-opening .
And it was a chance to learn that area residents addressed concerns with the reopening and their concerns were met with an action plan and a promise that if the park is mistreated and becomes a detriment to the neighborhood, it will be shut down again, but that there will be a collaborative effort from law enforcement, parks and recreation, and the community to prevent the closure from happening.
We did not, prior to our research, understand the value of parks in a city. Did you know the benefits of greenspace go far beyond beauty?
You will be a happier, less stressed out person if you visit a park!
A 2013 UK study reviewed here: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/southla/2013/04/23/13415/study-green-space-puts-city-dwellers-in-their-happ/ says interaction with nature makes people happier.
“A new study out of the U.K. collected data from more than 10,000 people over the course of 18 years. Information was self-reported and researchers concluded that people who live in urban areas with larger amounts of green space have “significantly lower mental distress” and higher life satisfaction.
And these people weren’t just a little bit happier, concluded researchers with theEuropean Centre for Environment and Human Health.
“In comparative terms, living in an area with higher levels of green space was associated with improvements in our well-being indicators roughly equal to a third of that gained from being married, or a tenth as large as being employed vs. unemployed,” said the study.”
And at this website, in http://greatist.com/health/urban-green-space it reported that it is a nature-walk a day (even more than an apple) that keeps the doctor away.
Doctors prescribe interaction with nature for good health!
“…even a short walk in nature produces neural effects similar to those achieved through meditation.Other research suggests spending time in nature is a great way to reduce stress, improve mood, and even boost self-esteem . When it comes to physical health, kids and adults who live near green space are more likely to be physically active and less likely to be obese .
The last few years have marked the rise of the national Park Prescriptions movement, in which patients receive literal doctors’ orders to exercise in a specific area of green space. In Arkansas, physicians send patients to the “Medical Mile,” a section of the Arkansas River Trail completed in 2003 via collaboration between parks and recreation services and Heart Clinic Arkansas. Meanwhile, Prescription Trails in New Mexico helps patients find safe, scenic routes for walking, jogging, hiking, and even wheelchair rolling.
Even when they don’t write a formal prescription, it’s becoming increasingly common for doctors to recommend exercise in green space as a preventative and curative measure for different ailments. Dr. Daphne Miller, a family physician and the author of Farmacology, is one of the leaders of this movement. “A lot of people know what their parks are, but they don’t necessarily think of them as a health resource,” she told me.”
So folks, take advantage of the numerous improvements in the Haverhill parks because we are fortunate to have so many of them, and because a daily visit to the park is just what the doctor ordered.