SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association

National Recreation and Park Association

March 22, 2017 14:00 ET

NRPA and Walk with a Doc Partner to Increase Physical Activity Across America

New partnership includes healthcare providers in eight U.S. cities

ASHBURN, VA--(Marketwired - March 22, 2017) - The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and Walk with a Doc (WWAD) are proud to partner on a new initiative called A Walk in the Park! to increase physical activity in communities through local parks and recreation. As part of the newly formed partnership, NRPA and WWAD are working with healthcare providers and local park and recreation agencies to promote healthy living and encourage participation in WWAD and Walk With Ease (WWE), a proven arthritis intervention program developed by the Arthritis Foundation. Eight cities are participating in the launch, including:

  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Davenport, Iowa
  • Indianapolis
  • Hilo, Hawaii
  • Phoenix
  • Cumming, Ga.
  • Missoula, Mont.

In these cities, healthcare providers that are part of a local WWAD chapter will host events where they invite their patients to go on a group walk with them at a community park. The events will include a short presentation by the provider on a popular health topic, along with healthy snacks, coffee and blood pressure checks. Any patient with arthritis, at risk of developing arthritis or simply interested in walking to improve their health will then be referred to their local park and recreation center for the WWE program. Led by certified and trained instructors, WWE is scientifically proven to help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

"NRPA is proud to partner with Walk with a Doc on this new initiative to get people moving," said Kellie May, NRPA director of health and wellness. "Whether it's a simple walk in the park or a program geared toward improving physical activity, local parks and recreation play a key role in improving people's health and wellness. We are happy so many physicians and other healthcare providers share this same view."

"While walking anywhere is a 'miracle drug,' walking in nature is proven to give even more added benefits. There is lower anxiety, depression, perceived levels of stress and overall improved mental health in general," said Dr. David Sabgir, WWAD founder and practicing cardiologist. "This opportunity to partner with NRPA to further connect physicians and parks through walking has the potential to move the needle away from sedentary lifestyles and loneliness and into a world of togetherness, hope, activity and progress."

Twenty-eight percent of Americans, or 80.2 million people, ages six and older are physically inactive. Individuals looking to improve their overall health are encouraged to walk at least 30 minutes a day at their local park. Walking reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, reduces strokes (up to 50 percent), reduces pain and disability, and increases the sense of well-being. To learn more about the benefits of walking, visit walkwithadoc.org/why-walk/.

As leaders in health and wellness, 83 percent of park and recreation agencies offer fitness enhancement classes and 81 percent of agencies offer health and wellness education opportunities. These programs include WWE, Commit to Health and Park Prescriptions. To learn more about these programs and others, visit www.nrpa.org/our-work/partnerships/initiatives/.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org/.

To learn more about WWAD, visit walkwithadoc.org/.

About The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

About Walk with a Doc
Walk with a Doc is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle to improve the health and well-being of the country. Walk with a Doc was started in 2005 by David Sabgir, MD, a board-certified cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio, who practices with the Mount Carmel Health System. Walk with a Doc has grown as a grassroots effort, with a model based on sustainability and simplicity, currently serving 307 communities nationwide. To learn more, visit www.walkwithadoc.org.

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