SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - April 19, 2017) - Experience the physical, mental, and social health benefits of parks first-hand at the second annual National ParkRx Day at Crissy Field on Sunday, April 23, 2017, organized by the Institute at the Golden Gate and Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area.
ParkRx Day is a growing movement by doctors and healthcare providers of prescribing parks and nature to improve patients' health and wellbeing.
"Walking and having fun in a park is a simple, yet effective, way for Americans to improve their overall health," said Ram Koppaka, MD, PhD, FACP, Regional Health Administrator for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health in Region IX of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one of this year's participating organizations. "We know that an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity -- such as brisk walking -- can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes."
"The Institute at the Golden Gate is working with healthcare providers and park agencies to build partnerships that increase access and visitation to parks that demonstrate the transformative benefits of nature to improve individual and community health," said Donna Leong, Health Program Manager at the Institute.
San Francisco's free event at Crissy Field will serve as one of the premiere ParkRx Day events in the country. Visitors will be able to sample a range of healthy family activities from rock climbing to Zumba, as well as low-impact programs for all abilities, such as yoga, tai chi, and a relaxation corner. There will also be in-kind product offerings and services provided by our generous corporate partners Hint Water, KIND, REI, Purity Organics, and Walgreens. National Park Service rangers will lead nature walks. Community organizations will provide health screenings and tips for healthy eating and exercise.
"San Francisco pioneered the national movement linking parks to health benefits where HPHP: Bay Area park programs have served over 6,000 Bay Area residents and 40 percent of them were first-time park users," said Chris Spence, Executive Vice President of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. "Research now proves the mental, physical, and community benefits to being connected and immersed in nature. For example, a recent article in the New York Times mentioned that when people swap their concrete confines for a few hours for more natural surroundings like forests and parks, they experience increased immune function, and a lower concentration of cortisol and blood pressure."
San Francisco's event is one of a number of local ParkRx Day celebrations organized by Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area (HPHP: Bay Area), a collaborative comprising more than 30 park, health, and community-based organizations united by a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of all Bay Area residents, especially those with high health needs, through the regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands.
"This event celebrates the important commitment of park agency leaders to ensure the equitable park access and utilization that promotes health for all residents in the San Francisco Bay Area," said Curtis Chan, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health, Deputy Health Officer, San Francisco Department of Public Health. San Francisco Department of Public Health is working with park agencies to spread Park Prescription programs throughout the city.
Other Park Prescriptions events will take place on Mt. Tamalpais in Mill Valley, John F. Kennedy Park in Richmond, Sunol Regional Wilderness in Alameda, and more!
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE AT THE GOLDEN GATE
The Institute at the Golden Gate reimagines parks as catalysts for social change, making them more vibrant, relevant, and valuable for everyone. Their current projects focus on parks as a tool for preventive healthcare, a classroom for climate education, and a resource for critical urban issues like homelessness, income and racial inequity, and rapid development. The Institute is a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service. Learn more at instituteatgoldengate.org.
ABOUT HEALTHY PARKS HEALTHY PEOPLE: BAY AREA
Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area is a regional collaborative of over 30 park, health, and community organizations. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Bay Area residents, especially those with high health needs, through the regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands. The Institute at the Golden Gate is the support organization for the collaborative. Learn more at hphpbayarea.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. For more information, visit nps.gov.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVANCY
The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization that supports the Golden Gate National Parks. Since its founding in 1981, the Parks Conservancy has provided over $300 million in aid for park site transformations, trail improvements, habitat restoration, research and conservation, volunteer and youth engagement, and interpretive and educational programs. The Conservancy's work is made possible through the dedication of its members and donors; contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and generous individuals; as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. Learn more at parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.