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Assisting in Emergencies: Piedmont Park Conservancy Hosts Staff CPR Training and Installs AED Devices

On an early spring day, a Park visitor was playing soccer on the Active Oval when he suddenly fell to the ground. He was experiencing a major heart attack at just over 30 years old. Luckily, his friends were medical professionals and thought to run to the Tennis Center for help. They found an automated external defibrillator (AED) device which they used to keep his heart beating while they waited for an ambulance.

With over 78,000 athletes coming to Piedmont Park every year, things happen. Medical emergencies, on the other hand, are few and far between. The incident prompted the Conservancy staff to explore how they could respond to similar situations while working in the Park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy was accepted into the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s 2018 Fall Extra Wish catalogue, where two generous donors provided the funding for three new AED devices. Additionally, the Conservancy decided to host two CPR training courses for the staff. The inclusion of the extra AED devices and staff training empowers the Piedmont Park Conservancy to provide assistance in a situation that may arise during their daily operations.

As of May 2019, over 80% of the Piedmont Park Conservancy staff has been trained on how to perform CPR and use an AED device. Mark Banta, President and CEO of the Conservancy, said of the training, “While there are no guarantees in life, the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest with the use of an AED device increases to about 40% or higher as opposed to 5%. We’re thrilled to have received this equipment and training in an attempt to improve the chances of survival.”

We hope to continue providing a gathering place for all Atlantans because we believe that a healthy and sustainable Park greatly contributes to a healthy and sustainable Atlanta.

Reminder: Always call 911 in case of emergency. After calling 911, if you see a Piedmont Park Conservancy staff member during working hours, please notify them of your emergency.

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

How to Build Running Stamina

Recent news releases announced that the City of Atlanta will be the host of the USA’s women’s and men’s marathon Olympic qualifying team race for the 2020 games. It’s an exciting time to be a runner in Atlanta, and no doubt many people will also be inspired by the incoming onslaught of Olympic-caliber marathoners hoping to make the US Olympic marathon team that they, too, may consider lacing up their shoes for the first time.

When you’re new to running, though, it can be really intimidating to figure out how to start or where to start. Most people intuitively know, for example, that they’re probably not going to be able to start at zero and suddenly just go run a marathon the next day. How you get to that point, though, remains a mystery for many people. They may want to run a marathon themselves one day, but how they go about doing that — how you can build running stamina when you’re currently at zero — is a bit of an enigma.

Building running stamina isn’t as mysterious as you may think. Below, I’ll provide some tips and guidelines that will help you build your running stamina slowly and safely. Who knows? Maybe by the time the Olympic marathon trials are in Atlanta for the 2020 Olympics, you’ll have even finished your first endurance race by then!

Some tips to help you build running stamina include the following:

Before anything, talk to your doc. Just to be on the safe side, particularly if you haven’t seen your physician in a while, go in and get his/her blessing. Make sure that running will be a physically safe endeavor for you and that you don’t have some lurking ailment or illness under the hood, beyond your line of vision. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Start very, very small. When you’re starting at zero, it may be maddening to think that you’re going to start off doing very little and staying at that level for a while before advancing. However, doing so is imperative so you can keep your injury risk at bay. When you begin, aim for 5 minutes of movement, interspersed between walking and running breaks. We call these “run-walk” or “walk-run” ratios. If, for example, you want to go out for 5 minutes, see what it feels like to run for 1 minute and then run for 30 seconds, and then repeat for the entirety of the 5 minute timeframe. In time, slowly but surely you will likely find that you can decrease your walking ratio and increase your running ratio. In addition, you may find that you’ll be able to bump-up your overall time, too, maybe going from 5 minutes, to 10 minutes, to 15, and so on.

Start very, very slowly. Don’t get trapped into thinking that in order to run, you have to sprint, as that can’t be further from the truth. When you’re building your running stamina, you should focus on keeping your pace easy and conversational — really, you should be able to sing and talk while you do it. Sprinting can be an effective way to get faster, but for now, when you’re focusing on building your stamina, it’s more important to keep the fire burning sloooooooowly.

Make incremental gains. It’s important to be patient with yourself as you embark on this new endeavor. Don’t think that you can make huge jumps right off the bat because you’re probably going to feel pretty sore as your body gets used to this new task that you’re asking of it. Maybe you’ll go out to run/walk for 5 minutes for an entire week before bumping up one of your days to 10 minutes or 15. You’re really an experiment of one here, so what works for your training partner may not work for you, and that’s ok. Keep in touch with your body and all the feedback that it’s giving you.

Join a training group. Finally, one of the best — and most fun! — ways to build your running stamina will be to join a local training group. It’ll be a great place for you to meet other runners with similar goals, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even find someone who’ll be run/walking similar paces as you. The mileage and time passes by so much more quickly — and so much more enjoyably! — when you get to share it with someone else. It’ll be like the healthiest happy hour you can have. Plus, you’ll be working under the supervision and guidance of a knowledgeable and qualified coach who can help to ensure that you’re progressing safely.

These are just a handful of the ways that you can work to build your running stamina. The underlying principle here is the importance of building your stamina slowly, cautiously, and conservatively. As long as you do that, you’ll be able to enjoy your miles and trails for years to come.

Happy trails to you!

Guest Post by Jane Grates

AUTHOR’S BIO: JANE GRATES

I love to run for marathons and trail running events. Producing at the sweet spot between beauty and mathematics to save the world from bad design. She also loves to write reviews on Runnerclick.

 

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