The second Saturday of each June is National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Family Health and Fitness Day. For this year, the date is June 12. The purpose of this day is to promote the importance of parks and recreation in keeping our communities healthy and fit. We need this more than ever this year as we re-enter society.
The health benefits of exercise are well-documented. However, most adults and children are not active enough. The CDC recommends children and adolescents have 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day and adults 150 minutes per week. Having access to great places like parks encourages us to get out and participate. The closer you live to a park, the more likely you and your family are to use it.
Physical activity and recreation benefits us in a number of ways:
Parks can help improve the overall health and wellness of our nation by the simple act of just being outside in their glory. Beautiful outdoor settings support good health for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Exposure to nature is good for us!
Think about all different things that you and your family can do in a park:
Being outside can help us bond with family and friends. Some parks have organized programs which encourages people of all ages to do things such as gardening and caring more about the environment. There are many positive impacts that parks and recreation can have on our physical, social and mental health. When we see the open spaces and trails, it encourages us to use them. And you know what? You just might make a new friend in a park while you’re becoming more physically active.
But we don’t just need one day for family health and fitness. We need to make this an ongoing occurrence in our lives as we get back to normal and the pandemic winds down. Taking better care of ourselves and our families by getting outside for a healthy dose of physical activity is a great start. Plan to have active family time at one of the wonderful parks in your community or around the nation as you ease back into vacation mode.
If you were a Parks and Recreation television fan like me, bring out your inner Leslie Knope and do your parks proud. Get out there and use them, so you don’t lose them. Be an inspiration to your community and each other.
National Recreation and Park Association Family Health and Fitness Day
U.S. National Park Service – Find a Park
Michigan National Park Service
Discover the Forest