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Green

How Parks Encourage Exercise

Monday, December 02, 2013   by: Greener Ideal

 

exercising in park

Photo by Mills Baker

Most people would agree that being active will improve health, but say the word “exercise” and they think hard work, sweating and engaging in activities that are strict and regimented. What some may not realize is that being active does not need to feel like a job.

Exercise can take on many forms, ranging from daily walks to raking leaves. The key is to engage in activities that are enjoyable. Being out in the fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for the attitude. A park is a perfect place to get in touch with nature, making parks great places to engage in exercise or physical activities. The type and level of exercise an individual can do at a park will depend upon the amenities. However, walking and many other forms of exercise can be done in any park where people feel safe.

 

Walking and Jogging in Parks can Improve Health

Walking and jogging are two types of aerobic exercises that can improve overall health, and both are popular with those who enjoy exercising in outdoor spaces. If a person has not been accustomed to moderate to strenuous exercise, walking through a park is a good way to get started.

Walking has several health benefits. It helps lower blood pressure and decreases the risk for heart disease. Diabetics who walk usually see a decrease in blood sugar. Walking strengthens bones and joints, which can decrease the risk for osteoporosis and ailments associated with poor joint health. Additionally, walking is a good way to burn off calories and lose weight, especially when it is done at a moderate to brisk pace and combined with healthy eating. Walking at a faster pace can also build lean muscle mass and even when one is resting lean muscle mass burns calories.

Those who like to exercise at a faster pace will find jogging in parks to be exhilarating and beneficial in burning more calories. Like walking jogging provides many health benefits, including improving heart health, blood sugar and helping the body develop lean muscle mass.

 

Parks encourage families to exercise together

Experts say that childhood obesity is an epidemic, making it essential that children have opportunities to run and play each day. The Centers for Disease Control and others concerned with children’s health indicate that children should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. Physical activity comes naturally to children since most will take any opportunity to run, jump and play. Parks provide a safe environment for children to engage in all of these activities that can lead to better health and fitness.

Young children who get plenty of exercise or physical activity tend to be healthier. Exercise builds children’s muscles and burns calories, both of which help children avoid obesity. This is important because as a result of childhood obesity, some children are developing diseases like high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes–diseases which in times past were seen mostly in adults. Parks can play a major role in getting children off the sofa and away from the video games and develop healthy habits that can benefit them for a lifetime. Another plus is that parents and children can visit parks together, which increases the opportunity for quality family time.

 

Every community needs parks that are safe, well-kept an accessible to children and families. Parks do not need expensive equipment like swings and slides to be a good resource for exercise or to be enjoyable for children. Parks with safe walking trails and grassy open spaces provide children and families with all they need to walk, run, jump and use their imaginations to get moving and get healthy.

 

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