New Survey Highlights the Role of Parks and Recreation in Keeping Older Adults Active and Healthy | Athletic Business

New Survey Highlights the Role of Parks and Recreation in Keeping Older Adults Active and Healthy

Source: National Recreation and Park Association

NRPA launches new Healthy Aging in Parks campaign 

Ashburn, Va. (July 10, 2017) — The role of parks and recreation in keeping adults ages 50+ active and healthy is expanding. A recent survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) found that more than nine in 10 park and recreation agencies dedicate facilities, activities and programming to older adults. Nearly three-quarters of these agencies serve as the primary provider of services and programming for older adults in the communities they serve. 

Based on the responses from 524 park and recreation professionals nationwide, the Healthy Aging in Parks Survey found that:  

  • 91 percent of agencies offer exercise classes to older adults
  • 76 percent of agencies offer one or more evidence-based programs to older adults
  • 70 percent of agencies offer field trips, tours and vacations to older adults
  • 67 percent offer arts and crafts classes to older adults
  • 63 percent of agencies identified area agencies on aging as their most common partner in efforts to deliver services to older adults
  • 58 percent offer volunteer opportunities to older adults
  • 58 percent offer special events and festivals geared toward older adults

“Many of our nation’s older adults are turning to local parks and recreation to keep them active and healthy,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Not only are the programs fun and effective, but they also are easily accessible and affordable.”

The release of these survey results coincides with the launch of NRPA’s new Healthy Aging in Parks campaign that focuses on improving and maintaining the health and well-being of older adults by increasing opportunities for physical activity through parks and recreation. Healthy Aging in Parks includes a variety of arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based interventions (AAEBIs) such as Walk With EaseActive Living Every Day and Fit & Strong!.  More than 150 park and recreation agencies across the country have committed to implementing arthritis-appropriate physical activity programs. This map illustrates the exact areas and locations.  

“NRPA is proud to support its member agencies in providing education and programming for older adults,” said Kellie May, NRPA director of health and wellness. “Building healthier and stronger communities and improving access to physical activity opportunities for everyone is our goal.”

Other initiatives included in the Healthy Aging in Parks campaign include Safe Routes to ParksA Walk in the Park! and Park Prescriptions. These initiatives either support the enhancement of the built environment or engage health systems and healthcare providers in efforts to increase physical activity among older adults. Additional programs will be added later this year.

To read the survey report, click here. The corresponding infographic is available here

To learn more about NRPA’s Healthy Aging in Parks campaign, visit    

To learn more about NRPA, visit

About The National Recreation and Park Association 
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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