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Park It: Health Benefits of Enjoying the Outdoors

Spending time outdoors, specifically at parks, offers many health benefits to both adults and children. The open space, green grass, trees, and other natural features may improve mood, reduce stress, or increase feelings of overall relaxation. One of the most obvious benefits parks and outdoor spaces offers is a place for people to engage in regular exercise. In fact, the more parks there are in a community, the more people exercise. In addition, people who live closer to parks exercise more than individuals that live farther away from parks. Check out some of the additional benefits of spending time outdoors and nature here.

Parks offer a platform to improve community engagement and increase community physical activity access. South Dakota has parks spread across the state, ranging from the Badlands National Park to the Lake Cochrane Recreation State Park. For a complete listing of South Dakota State Parks and to find the ones closest to you visit South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

South Dakota Department of Health, SDSU Extension and SD Game, Fish and Parks offer an exciting program to increase physical activity in our park system across the state, Park Rx. The program encourages healthcare providers to prescribe exercise—and when they do—patients can take their prescription to any South Dakota State Park and turn it in for a FREE entrance into a State Park for the day. To get your healthcare provider involved, read more about Park Rx here.