Kids Playground St. Mary's Park Bernal HeightsNeighborhood parks are integral to the quality of life in Bernal Heights. One benefit is meeting your neighbors.  Try switching up your regular gym routine and take advantage of exercising outdoors.

St. Mary’s park, north of Hwy 280 and Alemany Boulevard, is definitely off the beaten path. If you want to get outside and change up your workout, here are three unexpected reasons to spend some time outdoors.

▶︎ Three Tiers

St. Mary’s is a three-tiered park. It offers a variety of things to do like baseball, basketball, tennis and a rec center with bathrooms. There are picnic tables, hiking paths and big play structures for kids with great views.

Down the hill from the playground is a large, well kept, grass area for dogs. It’s rated a favorite place for both dogs and owners for years. Another well kept secret in the city.

Dog & Owner at St. Mary's park Bernal Heights

▶︎ The Mental Boost

The more connected kids are to nature, the more they care about preserving it.  They learn to be good stewards of the land.

A study from Environmental Science and Technology found that exercising outdoors boosted both self-esteem and mood in all ages. Confirming what is common sense to most of us, “Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood, “ said Jo Barton PhD and, “The greatest change for self-esteem was in the young age group.”

Path St. Mary's Park Bernal Heights

Combine your workout with family time

We’ve established that greenery will boost your mood and self-esteem. Add in the benefit of getting the kids away from the iPad, while also changing up your usual routine at the gym. Combining your workout with family time shows kids that physical activity can be fun. A long, brisk walk behind St. Mary’s gym can clear your head, elevate your mood and give you a change of scenery.

According to a Healthy Living article in Ace Living, walking or running in a strong headwind can help burn calories as you work harder against the resistance, while a good tailwind can help you move a little faster by putting “wind in your sails.”

Dog & Bike St. Mary's Park Bernal Heights

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, be more creative about your workouts.

Take the opportunity to switch up the monotony of the gym.  Spend time with the family, and enjoy one of San Francisco’s well kept secrets.  You can spend a morning exploring the Alemany Farmers market down the hill. Talk with some of the farmers and get some exercise outdoors.

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Link Love:

Environmental Science and Technology: What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health?

Ace Fit: Healthy Living Article

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This article originally written for Keller Williams, Bernal Heights Real Estate blog

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