Department: Missoula Measures
Missoula Measures - Outdoor Recreation: Benefits
Benefits of Recreation
1 - Recreation and active living are important to personal health.
Recreation, active living, fitness and sports can:
- Help people live longer – adding up to two
years to life expectancy.
- Prolongs independent living for seniors by
compressing the disease and impairment period typically associated with
aging – keeping seniors vital and involved in community life.
- Reduce the
risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
- Combat osteoporosis –
affecting 25% of postmenopausal women.
- Combat diabetes – the
fourth ranking killer disease (after heart disease, cancer, and respiratory
prevent site-specific cancers – particularly in the colon, breast and lungs.
- Help prevent and
rehabilitate back problems – affecting 25% of adults.
- Contribute to mental health – reducing stress, reducing depression, and
contributing to emotional/psychological well-being.
- Enhance overall health and well-being – critical to personal quality of
- Are proven therapeutic tools utilized in hospitals, clinics
and communities everywhere (physical recreation, sports, arts/culture) –
helping to restore physical, mental and social capacities and abilities.
- Recreation is essential to the development of our children and youth: We
learn motor skills (physical) through play and sports. We learn social
skills through play and sports. We learn creativity through play and
arts/cultural activity. We develop intellectual capacities and concepts
through play – and many other life skills.
- Provide the opportunity for adults to develop their full and
holistic potential (physical, social, creative, intellectual and spiritual)
– work only does so much.
- Parks and natural environments have great spiritual meaning for many –
and arts/culture is a significant way of exploring our spirituality.
- Build self-esteem and positive
self-image – foundations to personal quality of life.
- Enhance perceived quality of
life – for individuals, families, and communities.
- Nurtures growth, acquisition of life
skills, and independent living for those with a disability.
- Reduce self-destructive behavior and
negative social activity in youth – an antidote to smoking, substance abuse,
suicide, and depression.
- Reduce crime, racism, and social disfunction – effective with juvenile delinquents,
and supports diversity.
- Reduce isolation, loneliness, and alienation.
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2 - Recreation and parks build stronger families and healthier
- Families that play together – stay together. Children and youth remain
connected; couples that share leisure interests are more likely to stay
- Provides safe, developmental opportunities for the latch-key
- Produce leaders who serve their
communities in many ways.
- Builds social skills and stimulates
participation in community life.
- Recreation and parks are often the catalysts that build strong,
self-sufficient communities (sports groups, arts guilds, adopt-a-park).
- Culture helps people understand their neighbors, their history, and their
- Recreation, parks, sports, and arts/culture build pride in a community.
3 - Recreation reduces health care, social service and police/justice
- Fitness and well-being reduces both the incidence and severity of illness
and disability – lowering healthcare costs.
- Recreation supports families – reducing costs of social service
intervention and foster care.
- Recreation reduces crime and social dysfunction – reducing police,
justice, and incarceration costs.
4 - Recreation and parks are significant economic generators.
- Improves work performance – increased
productivity, decreased absenteeism, decreased staff turnover, reduced ‘on
the job’ accidents.
- Attract businesses to the community –
prime economic development and relocation magnets.
tourism – the third largest and one of the fastest growing industries in the
world today. Small investments in recreation, parks, sports, and arts/culture often
yield large economic returns – money generated by events, capital
development, and provision of ongoing services is spent several times in the
community (the multiplier effect).
- Parks and open spaces increase property value, and therefore tax revenue,
on adjacent land – many developers are automatically including parkland,
golf courses, etc. as marketing features.
From THE BENEFITS CATALOGUE, Canada.
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