*JRPM may look a little different this year due to COVID-19. While many of the benefits below still apply, some may not be the best thing to do at the time (such as organizing community events). Keep checking back for the latest information, and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram for updates.

Recreation and parks have a long list of benefits to individuals, families, and communities. From improved physical wellbeing to helping to build stronger communities, there are an endless number of reasons to organize a physically active community event or take a trip to your local park. Below we’ve listed the five most important benefits of recreation and parks to you.

1. Enhance Mental and Physical Wellbeing – 
Recreation and parks help people of all ages maintain healthy weights,  increase self-esteem and life satisfaction, and create opportunities for personal growth and development for all.

2. Enhance Social Wellbeing – Recreation can provide developmental opportunities for children and youth, decrease anti-social behaviours, as well as help build social relationships—through clubs, social organizations, participating on a team, or making a new friend.

3. Help Build Strong Families and Communities – Recreation and parks promote cohesion and resiliency in families, and promote welcoming communities for people and families from diverse cultures. Community events help keep neighbours connected and make neighbourhoods strong, and cultural and artistic programs promote social cohesion and volunteerism.

4. Help People Connect with Nature – Spending time in parks or on the land allows people of all ages to connect with nature, plus it can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health by lowering blood pressure, reducing stress levels, and supporting children’s cognitive development. On the land recreation also fosters a better understanding and appreciation for all aspects of local culture, language, and ecology.

5. Economic Benefits – Recreation spending 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.

Source: A Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015, Pathways to Wellbeing

Don’t forget to show your appreciation for recreation and parks by sharing on social media using the hashtags #recforlife and #JRPM, and tagging @nwtrpa.