“Past crises have proven that parks and recreation are one of the first and most crucial services to return to communities. Parks and recreation play a critical role in the mental and physical health recovery of citizens and play an equally important role in community economic revival. Access to recreation facilities and programs is a fundamental service for Canadians that will usher in a return of normalcy after COVID-19 — especially for children and seniors.”— Canadian Parks and Recreation Association
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 participate in recreation or take a trip to a protected area.
While JRPM may look a little different this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram for JRPM inspiration. Make sure to follow GNWT public health directives when showing your appreciation for recreation and parks this June.
The Five Most Important Benefits of Recreation and Parks
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.
From improved mood and resilience to boosts in physical health and fitness, recreation can provide developmental opportunities for children and youth, decrease anti-social behaviours, as well as help build social relationships for people of all ages. Even when following physical distancing guidelines, recreating with others is an opportunity to strengthen relationships and create connections.
Strong Families and Communities
Recreation and parks promote cohesion and resiliency in families, and promote welcoming communities for people and families full of diverse cultures. Community members can help keep neighbours connected and make neighbourhoods strong, and cultural and artistic opportunities further promote social cohesion and volunteerism.
Connection with the Land
Spending time on the land, in parks, or in protected areas allow people of all ages to connect with nature. 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.
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 costs.
JRPM is an opportunity to celebrate the many benefits of recreation and parks in communities across the territory. The NWTRPA believes recreation comes in many forms. How will you celebrate? Tag @nwtrpa and use #JRPM this June.