July is National Parks and Recreation Month
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.
Celebrate the power and importance of play with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) for Park and Recreation Month! Play is vital for our health and wellbeing and there’s no better place to play than our local parks and recreation facilities. You can celebrate by heading out to your favorite local park, rec center, or pool during July and sharing photos via social media using #PlayOnJuly. Make sure you bring a water bottle to stay hydrated and check the air quality for those who may have difficulty breathing like the elderly and people with lung conditions like asthma. You can learn more ways about how to get involved, find local events near you, and participate in the Park and Recreation Month photo contest by visiting NRPA’s website. Get Your Play On!
Physical Activity is Important for Health
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help:
- Control your weight
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduce your risk of some cancers
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult
- Increase your chances of living longer
If you’re not sure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you’re afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.
If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. If your condition stops you from meeting the minimum CDC physical activity Guidelines, try activities like the chair exercises in the picture. What’s important is that you avoid being inactive. Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you.
Improve Your Mental Health and Mood
Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities three to five times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you mental health benefits. Scientific evidence has also shown that even small amounts of physical activity can be beneficial.