Parks and Playgrounds

By Siobhan Brown
Gannon University Student Contributor

time off at the park

Our local parks and playgrounds offer a wealth of entertainment and relaxation at any time of year. Do the words "work" or "kids" make your eye twitch or your insides cringe from the feeling of oncoming stress? Don't be alarmed, you're not alone. According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), seven out of ten adults indicated they go through stress each day. Although stress is an inevitable part of life, it should be reduced as much as possible. A much overlooked and underrated solution is the power of the great outdoors. As a former "unnaturalist" myself, I find I relish the spare 10 minutes I have to take the scenic route from Gannon University campus and smell the crisp Erie air- and for good reason.

Not only does outdoor air boost serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps control our mood, but also the Environmental Protection Agency states fresh air is 75% less polluted than indoor air. Additionally, EPA also declares outdoor air is abundant in negative ions, which have been proven to lead to higher self-esteem, reduced anxiety, and better peripheral skills. Now before writing off the idea with the fact that life is either too busy to sketch out time, the, "I can't leave the dog at home for that long" excuse, or simply that you're not one of those "outdoorsy" people, there are a variety of options for how the outdoors can be enjoyed, especially in Erie's local parks.

So Little Time, What Should You Do?

  • Have lunch at Presque Isle's designated picnic areas for some calming scenery at Erie's favorite Peninsula.
  • Take the kids to a playground to have them shed some of that excess energy.
  • A unique way to spend the day is to visit rare archeological sites in Erie's Bluffs State Park.
  • Dog owners can visit the Humane Society's public dog park or dogs can be walked on leash on the Greenway or Brown's Farm area Trails at Asbury Woods.

Photo courtesy of Ann Bomberger