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Benefits of Recreation

In case you hadn’t already heard, June is Recreation and Parks Month! It’s the time to celebrate all the benefits of recreation and parks, and being on the land in your community.

But what are the benefits of recreation and parks? Recreation and parks have a long list of benefits to individuals, families, and communities. From improved physical wellbeing, to connecting over hobbies—there are an endless number of reasons to participate in recreation or take a trip outdoors.

We’re willing to bet that you can think of a few benefits, but here are the five most important benefits of recreation according to the Framework for Recreation: Pathways to Wellbeing, which is a joint initiative of the Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council and the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association.

Enhance mental and physical wellbeing

2019 Get Active event: Inversion Workshop in Somba K'e Park.

Of course, recreation and parks help us get outside and

get active which helps to improve our physical and mental wellbeing.

“Among all ages recreational experiences involving physical activity facilitate and support social relationships,” reads the Framework.

From using the trails, playgrounds, and waterways, to organized events across the NWT, recreation provides opportunities for people of all abilities to improve or maintain our overall wellbeing.

Enhance social wellbeing

One of the contributing elements to our overall wellbeing: our social wellbeing! Recreation and parks help us to build stronger bonds with friends and make new relationships within our communities.

NWTRPA staff visited Dechinta's Łiwe (fish) camp in winter 2020 to learn more about on the land programming, and spend time on the land together. Photo by NWTRPA.

From improved mood and resilience, recreation can provide developmental opportunities and decrease anti-social behaviours in all ages. Even when following physical distancing guidelines, recreating with others and being outdoors are opportunities to strengthen our relationships and create meaningful connections.

Connect with nature

You might also be thinking that recreation gets you outside and out on the land. Spending time on the land, in official parks, at local playgrounds, or in protected areas allow people of all ages to connect with nature. This can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health by lowering blood pressure, reducing stress levels, and supporting children’s cognitive development.

“Recreation and parks has a key role as a steward of natural environments: protecting and interpreting parks, trails, waterways, and wilderness areas, managing and balancing the needs of natural ecosystems with the needs of users, and minimizing and negative impacts resulting from services and programs.” – Framework for Recreation

On the land recreation also fosters a better understanding and appreciation for all aspects of local culture, language, and ecology. This is especially important for Indigenous peoples and nations, for which many activities considered recreation, such as hunting, fishing, and paddling are an important part of revitalizing cultures, languages, and traditions.

Elders checking a muskrat den, during the 2021 Supporting Wellbeing Pilot Training in the Beaufort Delta. Photo by NWTRPA.

Build strong families and relationships

Dene handgames. Photo by Pat Kane.

Community events help keep neighbours of all ages connected, and make a community more welcoming for newcomers!

The NWT Recreation and Parks Association believes that spending time on the land is vital for building and strengthening healthy minds, bodies, families, and communities.

2019 Paddlefest. Photo by NWTRPA.

Recreation and parks can be an important element in promoting adaptability and resiliency in families and promote welcoming communities for people and families full of diverse cultures.

Participating in community events reinforces relationships that make for strong communities, and positively influences mutual care and volunteerism.

Provide economic benefits

Were you able to guess the others? Did you also know that recreation and parks have significant economic benefits too? Recreation spending creates jobs, fosters tourism, and makes communities attractive places to live, learn, work, play, and visit!

Delegates at the 2019 NWTRPA Annual Conference in Hay River, NT. Photo by Scott Clouthier.

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.

Are you interested in Investing in a Partnership with the NWTRPA? View our NWTRPA Investment Package to learn about opportunities to invests in a healthy, connected, resilient NWT through recreation and parks!


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