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 benefits 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.
Take 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!
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.