When looking at boosting well-being in communities, a blanket one-size-fits-all strategy may not cut it. Different communities have distinctive needs and these must be taken into account, in order to affect the most positive change possible. Whether your community has a large number of office workers sitting too long during the day, senior citizens or schools, supporting your community’s needs and breaking down the barriers to physical activity can greatly increase well-being. Your parks and recreation can do a lot to support inclusion of all and this is key in boosting well-being all around.
Sitting Is Just Bad
We’re starting to find out just how bad large amounts of sitting can be for us. In many cities, there are a lot of office workers who will be spending most of their workdays glued to their desks in a sitting position. The problem arises with a drop in metabolism caused from inactivity, which also lowers good cholesterol. Investing in programs and classes that help reduce these negative impacts such as yin yoga, barre method, and pilates can help. Perhaps a class made specifically for people who sit all day that incorporates stretching, strength training and education will do well in your community.
While physical activity doesn’t fully negate the consequences of prolonged sitting, it does help you increase your well-being. Your instructors can teach students proper habits when sitting too much, as well as recommending alternative working methods such as standing desks.
Get Your Youth and Seniors Moving
While exercise is necessary for optimal well-being in people of all ages, physical activity can especially benefit youth and seniors. With youth, by building healthy habits that include physical activity at an early age, it’ll be much easier for them to keep them up when they’re older. Partnering up with schools can help boost attendance with school kids. Providing discounts for youth under a certain age is also a great way to get more people involved.
With seniors, exercise can help slow down the negative aspects of aging. Exercising can help prevent or delay disease, reduce frailty, improve mood, manage stress, and keep them social and active members of your community. Try partnering up with retirement homes and other social clubs seniors may frequent, as well as providing a discount for anyone over 60 or 65. There are also various local and federal grants available for programs that specifically cater to seniors.
Don’t Let Disabilities Stop You
The best recreation facilities in the world take into account people with disabilities need adequate support to attend. Making sure entrances, pathways and upper levels are accessible by all is important in not deterring people with disabilities from visiting your facilities. Physical activity has been shown to improve physical fitness and mental well-being for people with disabilities, as well as positive effects around self-confidence, social awareness, and self-esteem. Do some research on barriers to participation and see how many of them you can reduce for your community members.
Getting Everyone Involved
Taking a look at the age breakdown of your memberships can show you what demographics you have the greatest potential with. Maybe your youth and senior-oriented efforts have made your attendance with 20 and 30-year-olds drop too much. Keeping a good eye on all of your key demographics can show you the fruits of your labor and where you need to focus next.
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