Today, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors – 87% in buildings and 6% in vehicles. With so much of our lives spent behind doors, it becomes hard to make time for exercising, socializing, or just enjoying nature. National Park and Recreation Month is a time to promote the benefits of healthy, vibrant communities and the convenient opportunities they provide for active, outdoor adventures. During the month of July we encourage people to think of their parks and recreation facilities as a great resource to Step It Up, Kentucky!

How can you celebrate?
1. Find out where your local parks and recreation facilities are located.

In Kentucky, there’s no question we offer some of the best outdoor recreation and opportunities for physical activity. But you may not even realize how many parks are so close to you! You can visit State Parks, National Parks, or local parks and recreation facilities – just check your city’s local government website or Facebook page for specific information on the hidden parks in your area.

2. Participate in #StepItUpKY social media.

Parks are an important place to consider when we look at building walkable communities. Playgrounds and recreation areas provide fun places for active play while green space, sidewalks, and benches encourage older adults to walk for leisure and transportation. By participating in the Step It Up, Kentucky! campaign and showing your friends and family why it’s important to protect these public spaces, you are contributing to a growing conversation that shows Kentuckians are demanding we have healthier communities.

3. Get involved with Safe Routes to Parks.

Parks have the power to connect people by bringing families and neighbors together—but communities need to be able to get there. Considering access to parks is equally important as ensuring the presence of parks. The concept of Safe Routes to Parks considers the infrastructure required for a safe, connected system between parks, their access points, and the surrounding environment. Is your local park easy for neighbors to visit?

4. Experience the great outdoors with family and friends. 

Parks provide a safe, inviting place for families to get active and be healthy! Spending time outdoors also reduces stress and improves mental health. Exposure to nature improves creativity, decreases stress hormones, and calms aggression. They also play an important role in environmental health by sourcing freshwater, preserving wildlife, and offering a refuge to humans and animals throughout the seasons. So get out there and enjoy all the benefits your nearest park or rec center can provide.

Learn more about the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s Step It Up, Kentucky! campaign and see how you can get involved!

References

The National Human Activity Pattern Survey

This is Your Brain on Nature

4 Ways to Celebrate Parks and Rec Month
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