Investments in parks and recreational services have a dramatic effect on health and fitness, say Geof Godbey, professor emeritus of leisure studies, and Andrew Mowen, associate professor of recreation and parks management.
"There is a strong relationship between how much money is spent to provide such services and the amount of physical activity that people take part in," said Godbey. "You get what you pay for."
In one study cited in the report prepared by the researchers for the National Recreation and Park Association, spending an extra $10 per person on park and recreational facilities provided more vigorous exercise for girls and better strength-building for both sexes.
"As the study points out, for just an additional $10, that money provides a significant increase in the amount of exercise you can get," said Godbey. "What would a health club provide for that same $10?"
The number of parks and playgrounds in a community can also raise the fitness level of residents. For example, one study found that there was an increase of 17 more minutes of physical activity for each park within a half mile of a home.
In addition, studies have shown that the closer parks and recreational sites are to where people live, the more people use them and the more physically active they are.
Access to public parks promotes increased physical activity for nearly all age groups. About 85 percent of middle-aged and older participants surveyed in a five-city study said they visited a local park within the last year. The same survey indicated that 40 percent of those people go to the park more than once a week, a sign that park use was embedded into their lifestyle.
"Park use becomes more deeply ingrained in users and quickly becomes part of their lives," said Godbey. "People are being active and having fun for the sake of having fun, not as a health outcome, which, to them, is just an added benefit."
Godbey said that losing access to parks might cause unhealthy behavior.
"The physical benefits of park and recreation access are sort of obvious, but we have to look at the reverse," said Godbey. "If people aren't going to parks, what would they be doing with that time? Would they be sitting around at home, drinking a few beers, eating cheese puffs, and watching reruns on television?"
Since government officials often cut park and recreation spending first, Mowen said that park and recreational professionals could use the evidence presented in this report to educate officials and residents on the relatively inexpensive health benefits provided by parks.
"Most people, especially elected officials, consider park and recreational services as an amenity or as discretionary spending," said Mowen. "These studies argue that park and recreational facilities are part of the health care system, or should be."
Matt Swayne | EurekAlert!
Neutrons produce first direct 3D maps of water during cell membrane fusion
21.09.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Narcolepsy, scientists unmask the culprit of an enigmatic disease
20.09.2018 | Universitätsspital Bern
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2018 | Life Sciences
21.09.2018 | Event News