Colorado's 300 days of sunshine and 11,000 miles of trails offer unlimited opportunities for Coloradans to meet the recommended 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity.
"Our communities' parks are truly national treasures and have long been recognized as places of beauty and green spaces for recreation," said Dr. Eve E. Slater, Assistant Secretary for Health.
Assistant Surgeon General Woodie Kessel, M.D. applauded the value of our parks by saying, "We all lead busy, hectic lives. One place that has been a constant in our lives over time has been the park community and neighborhood parks."
Ways to improve public health through park visitation and trail usage include:
- Reducing environmental barriers to physical activity at the community level nationwide.
enhancing access and opportunities for increased physical activity.
- Increasing levels of physical activity, thereby reducing levels of obesity in youth and adults.
Individual health benefits of park visitation and trail usage may include:
- Reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Lower risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Weight loss and/or maintenance
- Stress reduction
- Increased self-esteem
The Surgeon General made the connection between obesity and the need for communities to increase the development of parks and recreation areas. By increasing opportunities for access to parks and recreation areas, Americans will get closer to meeting the federal recommendations to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week.From the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) news release, Feb. 26, 2002.