"Healthy Parks Healthy People" is a program designed to encourage physical activity in the beautiful parks of western Maryland and Caroline County. The program is a unique partnership between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), local Health Departments and healthcare providers in each region. The program involves DNR staff working with healthcare providers to encourage them to give their patients a prescription to increase physical activity and take part in programs offered at nearby State parks.
Healthy Parks Healthy People connects people to parks by promoting physical activity, fostering society’s understanding and appreciation for the life sustaining role of parks and natural areas, and creating the next generation of park stewards. The program encourages more use of Maryland’s parks and improves the health and well being of community members that take part in our program when referred by their doctor. Participating healthcare providers refer patients to the program in order to ensure that they are physically able to increase their level of physical activity and to ensure that the program would be beneficial and improve their health and well-being.
The local Health Departments assist the parks in providing helpful tips and health-related messages and providing diverse recreational opportunities for all levels of fitness. The overall goal of the program is to increase physical activity for community members in stress-relieving outdoor settings. Exercising outdoors in a beautiful park is a great way to relax and connect with nature. Following their participation in the Healthy Parks Healthy People program, patients are encouraged to continue with their exercise regime and add new activities that are available in the parks with the hope that the rates of chronic conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and depression will decrease and that people will live longer and healthier lives.
Healthy Parks Healthy People programs are offered at Rocky Gap, Herrington Manor, New Germany, and Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland and also at Tuckahoe and Martinak state parks in Caroline County.