Outdoor Recreation Boosts Mental Health

Outdoor Recreation Boosts Mental Health

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Ninety-two percent of U.S. adults experience a positive mental health boost after spending time at their local parks, according to the latest National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Park Pulse poll.

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Visiting parks and participating in recreational activities can improve mood and boost energy. Not only do parks and recreation provide opportunities for physical health, but also they provide mental health benefits. Time spent in nature positively impacts mental health by increasing cognitive performance and well-being and alleviating illnesses, such as depression, attention deficit disorders, and Alzheimer’s.

Key Findings:

  • Ninety-two percent of U.S. adults experience a positive mental health boost after spending time at their local parks.
  • Women are more likely than men to say they feel calm or peaceful after visiting their local parks (62% vs. 55%).
  • Millennials are more likely than baby boomers to feel happy or joyful after spending time at their local park (53% vs. 40%).
  • Those from households of three or more are more likely to feel happy or joyful after spending time at their local park (52%) compared to those who live with one other person (42%) or by themselves (34%). Larger households also feel more energized after their visit (32% vs. 20% vs. 21%).
  • Nearly three in five parents (57%) feel happy or joyful after spending time at their local park, compared to 40% of non-parents.

“The positive impact of parks leaves many individuals healthier, happier, and less reliant on local medical and mental health services,” said Melissa May, NRPA senior manager of research. “Access to quality parks and recreation can help improve health outcomes for every community.”

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NRPA Infographic

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