NRPA Swings into Park and Recreation Month

Get outside, pack a picnic, play on a playground, compete in a sport, and enjoy the sunshine! The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is celebrating National Park and Recreation Month this July -- and its members want all Americans to join in.

Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation's official Park and Recreation Month. Each year, recreation facilities and parks across the country kick-off summer programs, promote outdoor physical activities, and pull together community volunteers to make their outdoor space a better place for all. Due to the recession this year, many national parks are even offering free admission throughout the summer.

Spending the day at the park is not only great for your wallet; it's great for your health too. Frequently going to a park and being active can reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, help ward off obesity, and decrease feelings of depression.

Playing in parks also helps children build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, improve self-esteem, and avoid at-risk behavior such as drug use and gang involvement.

"Everyone can and should visit their nearest park this month," says Barbara Tulipane, NRPA chief executive officer. "Spending the day at the park is a great way to bond with your family, connect with loved ones, and improve your mental and physical health."

Park and Recreation Month also recognizes the vital contributions of employees and volunteers throughout the country who assist in creating and maintaining public parks and recreation facilities. These dedicated supporters ensure that public parks and recreation facilities are safe and accessible places for all citizens to enjoy.

From July 20-24, NRPA also celebrates Action Advocacy Week. Throughout this week, citizens are encouraged to talk to their legislators and tell them how and why the environment and open space are so important to our communities.

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