In many cities, summer can be the only season people and organizations can rely on warm weather. Taking advantage of the sun – in moderate doses – can have many great benefits. Mental health and happiness, stress relief, improved cognitive abilities, boosting the immune system, muscle building, and healing can get a boost from an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Staying fit is important all year round but, in the summertime, most locations can offer a bit more opportunity for outdoor exercise. Parks and recreation organizations can help, by providing programs that help people get active. Here are some of the biggest areas of opportunity for building summer parks programs.
Drop-in sports and activities provide a number of popular programs for people to casually enjoy, alongside other people in their community. The low level of commitment required allows for people who may not regularly exercise to come out and get active. Cold winters can leave some people in hibernation mode, resulting in not exercising as much as they would in warmer months. By promoting various drop-in options in your summer parks programs, you can attract more people towards healthier lifestyles, while also increasing your user base.
Don’t Forget the Camps
Summer camps are one of the most popular forms of summer programming for many parks and recreation organizations. There is a big range of different camps you can build into your summer parks programs so it is important to play to your audience. Some are very specific, such as a high school volleyball skill development camp. Others can be more general, such as a youth nature camp. It can be a good idea to have a breadth of options that range from the specific to the broad, so you can batter cater to a large number of people in your community.
The advantages of an outdoor lifestyle really can’t be understated and, depending on where you live, you probably have a lot more opportunities to be outside in nice weather during the summer months. Parks and recreation organizations tend to have many more outdoor parks programs during this season. Golf, tennis, beach volleyball, street basketball, and ball hockey are all examples of outdoor sports that gain in popularity throughout the warmer months.
Summer is also a great time to attract people to public parks. Hosting a range of public events in parks – especially when they’re recurring – can help foster a strong local culture around park activities. While a movie-in-the-park may not get people physically active during the event, your park’s exposure to guests can help bring them back for more active occasions.
Fitness Center Lifestyle
That summer body isn’t going to build itself. Getting to the gym to build up your strength and cardio is fairly common. This can also be a safe haven from getting too much sun, for people who spend a lot of their time outdoors. The sun can provide many benefits but it is always important to remember proper sun safety. Some areas around the United States can get so hot that outdoor exercise isn’t recommended and these are the communities that can benefit even more from strong indoor programming.
Want to keep employees and visitors from feeling anxious about spending more summertime indoors? Remember to provide ample lighting. Relaxing music that fits the summer can also help, depending on the specific activities and facilities.
As many benefits as the sun can provide, the UV rays emitted by the sun can be dangerous for your health. Adequate sun protection, proper hydration, sunscreen and sun-friendly clothing and accessories can help protect you from UV damage. Limiting active time in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm can help you and your members avoid the intensity of the sun. Avoid sunburns, by applying sunscreen and wearing loose, breathable fabrics that protect you from direct sunlight.
Remember to provide sun safety tips to you visitors, in order to promote healthy choices. If your facility has a shop component, keeping a stock of sunscreen is one way to help make it easier for attendees to make the right choice. Outdoor programming should also take sun safety to heart, as you can book classes and events where plenty of shade is available or have longer, more rigorous activities scheduled during times of day when the sun isn’t at its peak.