Parks and trails can improve health in several ways including:
1. Increased physical activity: walkable access to appropriate sites motivates people to participate in physical activity and to do so more frequently
2. Improved mental health: parks can serve as a venue for stress reduction
3. Environmental benefits: parks can reduce air and water pollution, protect hazard areas (e.g., flood plains, unstable slopes) from inappropriate development, and mitigate urban heat islands
4. Community interaction: parks can provide meeting places for neighbors
5. Reduce injury: parks and trails can provide safe spaces for people to play and exercise, away from busy streets and commercial zones
El Paso County’s parks and trails are valued parts of our environment. Research examining the connection between parks, trails, and health has helped identify the value that parks provide to people.
Get Into A Park And Walk!
According to the American Heart Association, walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity. Think it doesn’t do any good? Think again. Walking as little as 30 minutes a day can have the following health benefits:
• Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
• Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
• Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
• Enhance mental well-being
• Improve cholesterol and triglycerides
• Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
• Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
• Reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
Parks and trails promote physical activity and community engagement; and provide both environmental and mental health benefits. Parks have been shown to reduce stress and foster community interaction.
PARKS = THE BEST MEDICINE!