Creating spaces for people to gather and relax is one of the hot trends of placemaking and modern space design. While active exercise and play are critical, so is taking time to breathe deep.
The Mayo Clinic recently published a focus on the many ways relaxation can help us in our quest for health, including:
- Slowing heart rate
- Lowering blood pressure
- Slowing your breathing rate
- Improving digestion
- Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
- Reducing activity of stress hormones
- Increasing blood flow to major muscles
- Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improving concentration and mood
- Improving sleep quality
- Lowering fatigue
- Reducing anger and frustration
- Boosting confidence to handle problems
Read about some case examples of spaces that capitalized on the beauty of their natural areas:
Des Moines Parks and Recreation and UnityPoint Health-Des Moines in Iowa invite locals to enjoy Saturday mornings by participating in a free weekly yoga session at a variety of Des Moines Parks.
Korners Park in Batemans Bay, Australia has installed a reflection area; a place where people can rest on comfortable seats and quietly enjoy the view across the water.
Moab, UT, has been adding to their musical space for over 20 years. This park provides public access for all ages to interact with real musical instruments including drums, chimes, and xylophones. No prior experience is necessary as there are no wrong notes; Freenotes Harmony Park instruments are designed to make it effortless for people to play music together. The distinct sounds and tones were specifically chosen to blend together to create soothing sounds, a bonus for parents.
Station Park, a retail center in Farmington, UT, provides visitors with a state-of-the-art dancing water fountain from Fountain People with contemporary music, LED lighting, and a variety of water shows to relax guests.
Chattanooga, TN, takes advantage of the many beautiful vistas in its downtown and waterfront parks and walkways by strategically placing beautiful IPE wood benches from UltraSite for guests to use to sit, relax, and enjoy the view.
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