Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation’s official Park and Recreation Month. The American Fitness Index recognizes the importance of community parks and recreational areas and the role they play as a contributing environmental indicator for better health and physical activity.
OUT is IN
A study conducted for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) found that 3 in 10 U.S. adults do not spend time outdoors on a daily basis. NRPA wants to break that trend with their OUT is IN campaign. The program emphasizes how parks and recreation services are vital assets for our communities in battling the obesity epidemic and chronic disease.
Get out there and play!
Taking advantage of your local public park is a simple and economical way to improve your physical fitness. Parks offer children and adults an opportunity to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity during their visit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having access to parks and playgrounds can initiate other healthy lifestyle choices.
What are some other ways parks can promote health?
Want to see first hand what parks and recreation can do to benefit your health? The Trust for Public Land created this fun video on how your local park makes an impact on your health and the health of your community.
In this edition of From the Field, Advisory Board Member Roseann Lyle, PhD, FACSM, comments on what makes the ACSM American Fitness Index data report a unique measure of health and community fitness.
Dr. Lyle emphasizes the importance for communities to create an environment that makes it easier for people to make healthy choices. She also notes the interdependence of public transportation, healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, and policies that discourage smoking on community health.
Lyle also shares information about an initiative in her community, Healthy Active Tippecanoe, aimed at improving the health and quality of life for people living in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.
Lyle is a professor of public health at the Purdue University Department of Health and Kinesiology. She serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity and is a member of the Active Aging Partnership, which directs ongoing initiatives of the Blueprint for Increasing Activity among Adults over 50.
M. “Dot” Fullwood talks about the state of health and fitness in the San Francisco/Bay area, which ranked 8th in the 2010 ACSM American Fitness Index.
Fullwood, a graduate student at the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University, touches on efforts to improve physical activity in the Bay area and the need to change perceptions about physical activity across different socio-economic groups.
Fullwood is active in the Sunday Streets San Francisco program. Sunday Streets offers free and fun physical activity space to all San Franciscans and provides open space in neighborhoods that lack such space currently. Local businesses also benefit from increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic along commercial corridors. The events provide a model of how cities can provide healthy, environmental friendly outdoor activities for their residents. Check out Sunday Streets San Francisco on Facebook and Twitter.