Across the United States, parks, healthcare providers, public health agencies, and other entities have successfully facilitated physician-patient conversations about active living through “park prescription” programs, connecting individuals and families to free opportunities for physical activity close to their homes.
The goal is to increase the prescription of outdoor physical activity to prevent or treat health problems resulting from inactivity and poor diet. Park prescriptions increase the amount of time patients spend enjoying physical activity and provide physicians and other healthcare providers with a new set of tools to inspire them to improve their health.
Public parks and recreation agencies are an underutilized healthcare resource. They create healthy communities and play a fundamental role in enhancing the physical environments in which we live. Through facilities, outdoor settings, and services provided, they support good health for people of all abilities, ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and ethnicities. Parks provide a connection to nature which studies demonstrate relieves stress levels, tightens interpersonal relationships, and improves mental health. They provide opportunities for patients to reduce obesity and incidence of chronic disease by providing opportunities to increase rigorous physical activity in a variety of forms. And, they foster overall wellness and healthful habits, such as becoming tobacco-free and engaging in enrichment opportunities that add balance to life.
Facilitating health and wellness opportunities is a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Countless miles of paved multi-use pedestrian pathways and fitness trails, many with exercise stations, can be found throughout the park system.
Creating healthier residents is a day-by-day, collective effort that involves our dedicated healthcare providers. The next time you reach for your prescription pad, consider adding one more item—an outdoor physical activity in a local park or public land.
- Boca Pediatric Group
- Florida Department of Health
- Health Care District of Palm Beach County
- Healthier Jupiter
- Jupiter Medical Center
- Kindred Hospital The Palm Beaches
- Wellington Pediatrics