Parks and community playgrounds are vital to community togetherness, physical health and social well-being. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) highlights the benefits of well-planned parks, including the health, economic, environmental and social benefits. According to an analysis of social equity and parks conducted by the NRPA, parks bring communities together by providing an all-inclusive environment where people can gather and interact with one another.
Physical health benefits stem from the fact that people tend to be physically active when visiting parks and community playgrounds. At a park in Cleveland, OH, an NRPA study revealed the following:
- Nearly 70% of park visitors experienced moderate to high levels of physical activity.
- The average visit lasted close to two hours with visitors spending nearly half of their time physically walking.
Increased physical activity has been linked with a reduction in the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
In addition to increasing physical activity in visitors, parks and community playgrounds bring communities together, and in some cases, rebuild them. The installation of safe playgrounds and recreational areas for community children and youth has been shown to improve the overall health of the community. With this in mind, the NRPA launched several community rejuvenation projects in areas most in need of parks and recreation services. A study in collaboration with George Mason University analyzing an NRPA community rejuvenation project in Washington D.C. demonstrates a significant increase in park visitation once there was a safe place for children and youth to play. It also shows that visitors placed greater emphasis on their health and well-being after spending time in the park.
Community parks and playgrounds also enable social well-being among visitors, beginning with children’s first social interactions on the playground. All-inclusive playgrounds give children with disabilities the opportunity to play shoulder to shoulder with their peers. Chapman of Max’s Miles Foundation, a non-profit group organizing funding for a new special needs playground in Harmony Park gives her two cents on playgrounds and the social benefits for communities “I think that’s the key to building a community is having interactions among everyone, not just the people who are most like yourself.”
Children with access to parks and community playgrounds have been shown to more effectively achieve social developmental milestones, including team work and problem solving skills. Playgrounds also bring together caregivers and parents, promoting social interaction among adults and further strengthening the community. Are you ready to take the first step towards improving togetherness, health and well-being in your community? Take a look at Pro Playgrounds selection of community playgrounds, shade structures and rubber surfacing and build a quote today!