#OptOutside - It's Good for Your Health!

A growing body of research finds that being outdoors, in open space, can have significant benefits to your physical and mental health. In the 1970’s, noted biologist E.O. Wilson shared the hypothesis that humans have an instinctual love of nature, an idea he called “biophilia.” In more recent decades, neuroscientists have started to find support for these theories in studies of the brain.

The 2017 book by Florence Williams, “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative,” documents recent research into nature’s impact on health. Spending just 15 minutes a day outside in a natural setting has been shown to lower levels of stress in the body, and those who spend at least 45 minutes in nature daily show documented improvements in cognitive abilities. Other studies have shown that communities with higher access to green space have lower rates of mental health issues, regardless of income.

In fact, the health benefits of nature are a cornerstone of the Open Space Authority’s work in our communities, from events and community outreach, to partnerships with other public agencies and organizations.

Opportunities to Get Outside

The opportunity to relax is maybe more precious in the fall, as the days get shorter and we approach the busy winter holidays. With the fall harvest, colorful leaves, and wildlife spotting opportunities, this is one of the best times of year to get outside! 

Coyote Valley OSP - Arrowhead Loop Trail_D Neumann-6November 17 is National Take a Hike Day and we encourage you to get outside for a gentle, family-friendly hike through the oak woodlands at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. You can opt to hike just to the trail’s first overlook (2 miles round-trip) or join the team for the full Arrowhead Trail Loop (6 miles round-trip). To explore other Open Space Authority hiking trails, click here, and click here to explore the best paved trails in the Santa Clara County.

girl pumpkin pieEach year our partner REI advocates that people skip out on the crowds associated with the biggest shopping day of the year and #OptOutside on the day after Thanksgiving. The Authority joins in this celebration with Hike Your Pie Off, a series of guided hikes to help you get outside and hike off your holiday meal. Stay tuned for more details or find other events by signing up to receive our event calendar here.

And as winter approaches, so does raptor migration season, and we are expecting even more hawk activity out on the preserves. Break-in your bird-watching binoculars and hit the trail to identify some charismatic bird species soaring above the hills. To get started, read our birdwatching guide here

November 06, 2018
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer