Accomplish your New Year’s resolutions with #pbcParks!

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It’s time to start making lists filled with the goals we want to accomplish in 2016. Some popular aspirations include traveling or reading more often, spending more time with family and friends, or learning new hobbies. But of course, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are health-related.

According to Nielsen, the top two New Year’s resolutions in 2015 were to “stay fit and healthy” and “lose weight.” If the cost of a gym membership is keeping you at a standstill, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department has good news for you – you can accomplish these goals without a gym membership! The key to living a healthier lifestyle in 2016 can be found in a park near your home or job.

The most recent statistics from 2007 by the Florida Department of Health suggest that about 68% of Palm Beach County residents are inactive at work, and only about 36% of residents meet moderate physical activity recommendations.

It’s a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department to facilitate health and wellness opportunities to help our park patrons achieve their health and fitness goals in the coming year!

Walking, running & jogging

If you’re just starting your physical fitness journey, consider talking with your health care provider first and begin by adding walking to your daily routine. Various health organizations indicate there are countless 80380240benefits of walking. Doctors with Mayo Clinic, a medical non-profit and worldwide leader in medical care, research and education, indicate that combined with fewer caloric intake, 30 minutes of brisk walking every day can burn about 150 calories daily. Adding to that, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) reports that walking as little as 30 minutes a day can have more than just physical benefits – including reduced risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and osteoporosis, reduced risk for depression and other mental illnesses, as well as contributing to a reduction in air pollution.

view from towerTake advantage of the many walking paths and nature trails throughout Palm Beach County’s park system. The multiuse paths may be used for walking, jogging, running, skating or bicycling. Or, take it easy with a walk on any of our five nature trails, like the one at Daggerwing Nature Center, you may come across animals like ospreys, butterflies or wood storks. In addition to the physical benefits that come with exercising outdoors, various organizations like the University of Washington report that “green spaces” like these help control mental fatigue, stress and a variety of other mental issues.

Tip: A healthy brain is key to accomplishing all of the other goals on that New Year’s resolutions list!

Have a bike you’d like to pull out in 2016? We provide bicycle paths and off-road bicycle trails, as well as bicycle rentals, at some of our park locations.

Strength training & stretching

Staff at the Mayo Clinic report that strength training can help reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently – a proven method for losing weight, looking and feeling better!

It’s never too late to start strength training! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the benefits of strength training in elderly individuals, reporting the reduction of signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, obesity and others chronic diseases in those who strength-train regularly.00043.MTS.Still001

If you’re looking to add strength training to your exercise plan in 2016, take advantage of the recently-installed Fitness Zone® at John Prince Park. It contains 17 pieces of resistance exercise equipment under the shade – and it’s free to use every day, sunrise-sunset. At other parks, like Loxahatchee Groves and Burt Aaronson South County Regional, you can go through exercise courses and stations to stretch, balance, kick, jump and more. To learn more about the health benefits of stretching from the Mayo Clinic, click here.

Water activities

Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University offers a helpful guide to the benefits of water exercise, like swimming. Among the many benefits of exercising in the water are increased muscular flexibility, circulation and an improvement to the physique.

78032109The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers six aquatic centers where visitors can workout in the water for a low cost. Kids and adults can enjoy water aerobics, lap swimming, water walking and other water-related exercises.

South Florida’s weather is perfect for water activities! In 2016, make it part of your plan to discover Palm Beach County’s beautiful water bodies. Thousands of park-goers already take advantage of boating, canoeing and kayaking opportunities at inland county parks like Riverbend and Okeeheelee, as well as access to the Intracoastal Waterway and ocean from saltwater boat ramps located in parks like Phil Foster and Bert Winters. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available at select locations.

Tip: Canoeing and kayaking allows you to have a relaxing day out, as well as improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility.

Kids’ fitness

Adults aren’t the only ones who may want to improve their physical health in the coming year. Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation offers multiple options to get kids up and moving – including playgrounds, recreation centers and splashparks.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today! Visit www.pbcparks.com and find a county park near you.

How Parks and Recreation helps prevent chronic diseases

Millions of residents and visitors use Palm Beach County’s parks each year to play sports like basketball and baseball, walk their dog, relax on the beach, or have a picnic. Aside from the social importance of these types of activities, visiting the park can have measurable health benefits. Multiple health organizations – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health – have linked physical activity in a park setting to a lower risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, arthritis and others.

Watch this short video to learn more about how you can help lower your risk for chronic diseases by visiting a park near you.

Annual Migration Celebration attracts 1100 to free lectures, activities, animals and more

Adults, kids and bird lovers alike packed Green Cay Nature Center on Saturday, November 14 to learn about migratory birds returning to the wetlands, along with reptiles and the Seminole Wars. Kids took part in various animal-related activities like an interactive puppet show and arts and crafts geared toward education and conservation. Bird lovers of all ages spent the day watching for dozens of different birds at the nature center – and at the end of the day, two peregrine falcons were released by the South Florida Wildlife Center.

Green Cay Nature Center is Palm Beach County’s newest nature center that overlooks 100 acres of constructed wetland and provides educational opportunities about this unique habitat. The wetland features 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk featuring interpretive signs about the habitat. The nature center includes a lecture hall, gift shop and live animals in an extensive exhibit room that highlights wetland attributes.

Green Cay Nature Center is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 12800 Hagen Ranch Road, west of Boynton Beach. Promoting stewardship of natural, archaeological and cultural sites is one of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.