Friday, August 26, 2016

Parks and Wellness

In my work as a wellness consultant, it’s always wonderful to watch how others define wellness for themselves and for those they care about. Important work is going on in our communities related to many dimensions of wellness including investments in trails, parks and recreation infrastructure, and timely wellness policies like bicycle lanes or the new Tobacco 21 initiative in Ann Arbor.

As we celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service, it seems obvious that recreation and the beauty of our national parks also contribute to wellness in a significant way.  Parks are places where people go to connect with others or reflect alone; places that promote activity, clean air and clean water; places where our history as a nation is honored.

I met with the 2016 SkyWell senior leaders this week. They demonstrated their creative energy about how to define wellness for this next school year and I am certain that their ideas will make an impact. As they discussed their priorities, I noticed they touched on much more than just physical wellness topics like nutrition and fitness.  Although those behaviors are key indicators for health issues like obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, their discussion also focused on the environment, stress and anxiety, and reducing stigmas and stereotypes at school.

Progress toward optimal health is gained from any and all efforts that help us to expand beyond our everyday habits to reach new goals. We all benefit from our nation’s commitment to the US Park Service. We are also beneficiaries of a wellness culture that supports healthy living. Visiting a National Park is one way to achieve the inspiration we all need.

Happy 100th Birthday to our National Park Service!

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell