Park Rx Day: Why getting outside is good for your health

I am a huge fan of the National Parks.

From hiking to biking, kayaking and stargazing, reconnecting with nature is my happy place. As it turns out, there’s some science behind that. A little fresh air—to walk, to play, and to just relax ─combats a number of health concerns, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression.

The average American spends 93% of time indoors, and ten hours each day in front of a screen. Most do not get the recommended levels of physical activity. That’s why the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy and National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds are encouraging everyone to discover the healing power of nature.

Celebrate Park RX Day with Free Entrance at Your Favorite Park

The National Parks Service is offering free admission on Park Rx Day, April 23, 2017. Why? Because getting outside is good for your health.

As a part of the National Park Week celebration (April 15 through 23), the NPS is holding Park Rx Day. On April 23, every National Park Service site nationwide will have free entrance. Many will host special events to highlight the import role of greenspace in overall wellness.

A growing number of healthcare providers across the country are joining the Park Rx movement. They often write prescriptions for recommended doses of outdoor time and activity. And they are seeing results.

“We know that an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes,” said Murthy. “Park Rx Day is setting a great example by encouraging individuals to use their parks and greenspaces to improve their physical health and emotional well-being by connecting with family and friends over a walk.”

The National Parks Service is offering free admission on Park Rx Day, April 23, 2017. Why? Because getting outside is good for your health.

“A step outside is a step in the right direction,” said National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds. “Parks and other public lands provide pathways to healthier lifestyles. They offer nearby, accessible places to take a walk, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy a break from the stressors of everyday life. A little investment of time in nature can pay big dividends.”

Find an Event Near You

Enjoy time in any of the country’s 417 national parks, or take part in one of the 50-plus Park Rx Day events planned across the country. Organized activities include fitness walks; Zumba and yoga sessions at Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City; a four-mile hike from Tumacacori National Historical Park to Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in Arizona; games and sporting events at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas; biking on the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia; and a health fair with free screenings at Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.

For more information, check out Park Rx Day events.

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