The Benefits of Recreation and Parks

Recreation and parks foster individual wellness, community wellness, and the wellbeing of built and natural environments.

Recreation and parks enhance mental and physical wellbeing.

    • Parks stimulate physically active and imaginative play for children.
    • Recreation and parks that encourage physical activity help people of all ages maintain healthy weights, and reduces health care costs.
    • A playground can increase the physical activity levels of children.
    • Participation in recreation and time spent in parks can increase self-esteem and life satisfaction.
    • Recreation provides opportunities for personal growth and development for all.

Recreation and parks enhance social wellbeing.

    • After-school recreation programs provide many developmental opportunities for children and youth.
    • Recreation can help build social relationships—through clubs, social organizations, participating on a team, or making a new friend.
    • Recreation can help decrease anti-social behaviours among youth.

Recreation and parks help build strong families and communities.

    • Recreation and parks promote family cohesion and resiliency.
    • Community events help keep neighbours connected and make neighbourhoods strong
    • Participation in cultural and artistic programs promotes social cohesion and volunteerism.
    • Recreational activities can help build welcoming communities for people and families from diverse cultures.

Recreation and parks help people connect with nature

    • Parks are spaces where people of all ages can connect with nature.
    • Being on the land has a positive effect on both physical and mental health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and support children’s cognitive development.
    • On the land recreation fosters a better understanding and appreciation for all aspects of local culture, language, and ecology.

Recreation and parks have economic benefits.

  • Spending on recreation creates jobs, fosters tourism, and makes communities more attractive places to live, learn, work, play, and visit.
  • Investment in recreation can lead to improvements in individual and community wellbeing, which helps to reduce costs in health care, social services, and justice.


(A Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015, Pathways to Wellbeing)