Recap: Runaway Bride 5K!

If you were in Piedmont Park last weekend and thought you saw a woman running in an ankle-length wedding dress, you weren’t just seeing things. Atlanta’s Run Away Bride 5K, a wedding-inspired race hosted by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, took place in the Park on Sunday, July 22.

Race participants, a medley of married, engaged and single folks, wore wedding attire of all kinds for this unique race benefiting the Conservancy. Many dressed up in fun veils and bowties, while others took it up a few notches, clad in full bridal garb. Park visitors were treated to a wedding processional of sorts as the runners made their way past! There were tutus, bouquets, bridesmaid’s dresses, and a 20-year-old bridal gown worn by its original owner, Carol, who also held an impromptu bouquet toss.

Thank you our runners for dressing up for the occasion; Exhale Spa for sponsoring the event; and W Hotel (Midtown), Spa Sydell, Urban Body Fitness and Dancing Dogs Yoga for providing prizes for our winners.

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

 

Ryan and Sammi: A Dockside Proposal

Ryan and Sammi met as law students at the University of Florida. Friends at first, they grew closer when they both ended up moving to Orlando to begin their careers. Soon after, Ryan realized Sammi was the “one!”

With an engagement now on the horizon, Ryan set out to look for the perfect place to ask Sammi to marry him. He decided Atlanta would be an excellent option, a unique choice considering neither of them live in the city.

He scoured the net for the perfect place to propose, eventually deciding on Piedmont Park. Nestled in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, the Park offered a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Ryan wanted someplace that offered an air of seclusion, but wasn’t too much of a departure from typical outings in Atlanta’s midtown area.

Where in Piedmont Park did the proposal take place?

Ryan decided to propose to Sammi at Dockside, a lakeside location surrounded by a gorgeous array of trees.

“Aside from its undeniable beauty, the Dockside gave us an opportunity to have a fairly private moment in an outdoor setting,” he said.

The area was closed off and decorated with romantic standing flower bouquets and lit candles.

Sammi couldn’t believe how well Ryan had done at choosing a place that allowed them to feel like they were in their own little world.

“I’m still a little in shock at what a great job Ryan did at planning the proposal and what a gorgeous location he picked.  It was fairly private in that when we walked down the steps and onto the dock, the trees surrounding the water hid all the other people in the park.  It really felt like our own private moment.  And then when I said yes and Ryan stood back up, everyone who could see us through the trees clapped and yelled congratulations.  It was adorable!”

How did the Piedmont Park Conservancy help?

Jane Rollo, Director of Facility Rentals at the Piedmont Park Conservancy, was instrumental in helping to realize Ryan’s dream proposal. She directed him to Courtney Surber Paz, an Atlanta-area event planner, who assisted in coordinating the details.

“She helped me visualize the proposal setting, select and utilize the right florist to create a romantic proposal setting (and have the flowers moved back to our hotel room after the proposal itself), procure a driver, a violinist, and, of course, a photographer,” Ryan said.

Sammi was positively thrilled with the way the day turned out.

“Honestly, everything about it was amazing.  I was so surprised and overwhelmed in the best way possible, and the beauty of the park definitely contributed to that. It was the perfect proposal location.”

Final Verdict?

“We’re going to make a point of coming back to Atlanta, probably annually at least, to celebrate our special moment there. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience with the Park. From start to finish, the Conservancy staff helped Sammi and I have a wonderful experience in a wonderful setting. I trusted them with one of the most important moments of my life, and I was right to do so.”

If you are interested in renting out Dockside or another venue for your special day, or if you would like to tour wedding venues please visit: piedmontpark.org/weddings

 

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

Six Ways Parks Can Help You Stay Healthy

Do you want to live a long, healthy, and happy life?

It’s easy. In fact, it’s as easy as a walk in the park.

Public parks are known for their beauty or recreational value. But the biggest benefit lies in what they can do for your physical and mental health.

Let’s have a look:

1. Parks encourage physical activity

Everybody knows regular exercise is the key to maintaining your health but very few manage to do it. In a survey, more than 75% of participants said that they want to be fit but only 31% said that they exercise on a regular basis.

One of the biggest problems is the absence of a convenient place like parks. This research confirms that people are a lot more likely to exercise if they are living near to a park. The participants mentioned parks as the most common place for exercise. Another study by the Rand Corporation reveals that 50% of all vigorous exercises take place in the parks.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine did a meta-analysis of various studies and concluded that awareness and access to places for exercise can result in a 48.4% increase in physical activity. It will improve aerobic capacity, flexibility, and help weight loss.

Even if you are not moving a muscle and just spending some time in the park, it will improve your perceived health and lower blood pressure, according to this study by Penn State University.

You should be aiming for a lot more than perception though. You don’t need anything fancy. Parks are the best place to follow a walking or jogging routine and just 20 – 30 minutes of running can transform your life.

2. Parks enhance your mood and mental health:

Are you feeling down? Stressed? Or depressed? One of the easiest ways to improve your mood is to go to a park.

These places have some magic about them.

Spending just 10 minutes in a park can improve your mood and reduce stress. Take a book for even better results because leisure activities in the park can improve your sense of wellness.

Research confirms that taking a stroll in natural surrounding can decrease mental activity that leads to depression. Not to forget that exercise is the best antidepressant and sometimes, as effective as drugs. Here’s another study that confirms spending time in the park can be relaxing for the mind.

Most of our mental issues stem from negative thinking. Parks can help you look at the positive side of things. A team of researchers analyzed 2.2 million tweets and found that the tweets from parks were more positive than the ones from residential areas or transport hubs.

The mental health benefits are not limited to mood enhancement. Research has shown that spending some time in parks can restore mental energy, improve short-term memory, improve concentration, and boost creativity.

Oh, and it will also improve your sleep quality so your mind gets the much-needed rest.

3. Green space improves the quality of life:

Green is the color of life.

It is often associated with nature, sense of wellbeing, harmony, and a clean environment. Studies confirm that people with a regular view of trees or greenery from their homes or offices are less likely to suffer from mental fatigue or depression.

Parks are the perfect place to de-stress and wind down after a hectic day. Looking at the greenery will alleviate your diastolic blood pressure. People feel more calm and relaxed when they are around plants and flowers.

Many hospitals have parks or gardens because it supports recovery and improves immune response. Research has shown than greenery can produce positive health, social and environmental outcomes. This is why horticulture therapy is used for mental health treatment, community-based programs, or prisons. People working in offices with natural elements report higher well-being.

4. Parks contribute to social wellbeing:

Loneliness can be twice as deadly as obesity. It is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social isolation leads to problems like dementia, blood pressure, and substance abuse. A meta-analytic review of 150 studies suggests that people with strong social connections have a 50% increased likelihood of survival, regardless of their age or health.

Park is a great place to meet new people and make friends. Research has shown that kids with close friends have higher self-esteem and they do better academically. Not only that, but they will grow up to become more confident and less depressive by the age of 25.

For seniors, living a socially active life means higher late life satisfaction and a less severe decline in the old age.

5. Environmental benefits of parks:

The health benefits of the parks are not limited to people who visit them. The trees and plants have tremendous environmental benefits for the entire neighborhood.

They improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen. Harmful particles and gases like Nitrogen oxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, etc. are also taken care of.

They provide the much-needed shelter and keep the temperatures in control. They do it by absorbing water and releasing it in the air. NASA reported an increase of 5º to 8º degrees in Atlanta where 380,000 acres of trees were bulldozed. That’s how big of a difference they make.

Trees can also save water and prevent soil erosion. The lack of trees results in serious problems like heat-island-effect and smog. This is why the US Environmental protection agency recommends parks and green roofs to combat these problems.

6. Spend quality time with your loved ones:

Do you find it difficult to motivate your kids to be active?

A study found that kids living near the parks are more active. Physical activity or outdoor games are incredibly good for their physical, mental, and emotional development.

Research has shown that children who spend time with their fathers have improved self-esteem, higher IQ, better health, and they are less likely to get into trouble.

And it’s good for you too. In a survey, 46% of people said that their loved ones help them make healthy choices in life.

These are just some benefits but we’d love to hear from you. Are you a regular visitor to the park? How has it benefited you? Please share your thoughts and comments on this.

Guest Post by Sadaqut Ullah Khan
Author: Research Analyst and Writer at RunRepeat.com