The NC Recre8'er - is the Blog for NC Recreation and Parks Professionals. We will feature posts from NCRPA members and staff about all the latest news, insights and tips in our field and around the state. Topics will include but are not limited to: Health and Wellness, Outdoor Recreation, Athletics, Advocacy, Aquatics, Therapeutic Recreation, Special Events, Marketing, Parks and Greenways, Cultural Resources and more! If you are interested in being a guest blogger please contact Matt at NCRPA Matt@ncrpa.net or 919-832-5868.
The opinions of The NC Recre8'er (NCRPA) blog contributors don't necessarily reflect the editorial position of North Carolina Recreation and Park Association as a whole.
As youth summer programs kick-off, it is important to consider snacks that are both healthy and well-liked by the children.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) acknowledges the health of today’s school and youth programs continues to improve, but there is still progress to be made. Currently, the Smart Snacks in School standards have helped ensure kids are offered tasty and nutritious foods during the school day. Some of the food requirements include a “whole grain-rich” grain product, or have as the first ingredient a fruit, vegetable, a dairy product or a protein food. If you aren’t doing it already, these food guidelines can easily be carried into youth summer programs to maintain a consistent message throughout the year. However, as busy we all are during the summer months, sometimes it is hard to consider healthy snacks and we resort to purchasing the fast, easy and less healthy options for youth programs.
Below I have listed healthy snack options, as well as a couple resources for youth programmers to gather ideas for more healthy options.
Healthy Snack options can include:
Apple slices spread with reduced fat peanut butter and sprinkled with raisins.
Applesauce with cinnamon
Banana sliced in half with reduced fat peanut butter.
Fruit Salad (sliced and diced fruit such as bananas, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, ect.)
Veggie tray: celery, carrots, and cherry tomatoes
Animal crackers or graham crackers
Yogurt with granola pieces
Listed are some alternative resources to find information on quick snacks or meals to prepare for children. Eat Smart Move More NC provides information on both snacks and drinks. This is great general information that everyone should know; such as portion control, planning ahead for the week, and specific food items that are the healthiest. KidsHealth has great recipes for kids with dietary restrictions; every child, no matter their limitations, should be able to enjoy their meals. The UNL Food Team, has quick, simple snack mixes that are creative, healthy and tasty. And lastly, be sure to check out NCRPA’s Healthy Snack Guidelines page for more information on increasing healthy snacks and food in sports, camps, afterschool and other programs!
As we often discuss, physical activity has increasingly become a vital component to promote in our communities. According to the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Moveprogram, childhood obesity is one of the most urgent health issues we face in the United States. Statistics have indicated nearly one in three children are overweight or obese, which directly correlates with immediate and long-term health issues. While recreation and park agencies cannot prevent all negative issues, we all can work towards promoting increased physical activity in the communities we serve.
I’m excited to announce there is a new addition to the Wellness Initiative toolkit dedicated towards Physical Activity Programs. Thanks to your fellow recreation and park agencies and community members, the information available on these pages will help you to offer and promote physical activity programs in your community. The Physical Activity Programs page has information regarding training for staff, run/walk groups, smartphone apps for physical activity, family game nights, and workplace wellness.
It is an awesome concept that recreation and park agencies can become the community leaders in promoting physical activity among children and adults. Implementing wellness programs in your community begins with sharing information by leading, organizing and taking action!
Happy Monday, is it June already? Last week Joseph Voska and Toni Webb, from the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department, presented our latest Wellness Webinar discussing youth program ideas for the summer months. This webinar has important information for brainstorming and incorporating new youth program offerings in your own community. Even though this summer is right around the corner, the ideas presented by Joseph and Toni can help enhance your future summer programs!
Joseph and Toni talk about the variety of camp programs offered to meet the needs and wants of the Raleigh’s diverse youth population. It is important to remember each individual kid has their own interests, so the parent will register their child for the best fit program. Raleigh’sSummer X-Press Program is a high quality traditional camp experience. The program offers organized activities including: arts and crafts, recreational sports and games, field trips and much more. Day Trippin’ Camp is another idea that was discussed during the webinar. This program is extremely popular, mainly because it is not your typical summer camp. Day Trippin’ campers have the opportunity to go on two field trips each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This way the campers have an opportunity to go swimming, fishing, boating, ice skating, bowling or visit museums and watch movies.
Joseph and Toni also discuss the challenges and successes of their programs. If you are still searching for unique program ideas, then please click the following link to view the webinar: https://vimeo.com/129028558
Lately the webinars have been discussing opportunities to help get kids actively involved in various programs, but do not forget about the healthy eating options! Even if your programs are set for the summer months, make sure to provide healthy snacks for your camp participants. It is not too late to change those chips to apples, carrots or celery! Check out NCRPA’s Wellness Activities and Education in After School and Camp Programswebpage. There you can read healthy snack guidelines and how you can incorporate it into your summer programs.
Your youth programs, whether it is summer or during the year, can become stronger by offering more opportunities to engage the youth, as well as providing healthy eating options. If you have youth program or healthy eating ideas, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)
I hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. Today will be our next Wellness Webinar hosted by Toni Webb and Joseph Voska, from the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. The webinar will discuss youth program ideas for the upcoming summer months. The webinar will be a great opportunity to gather notes on youth activities and opportunities for summer camps or daycare programs.
Personally reflecting on youth programs, I couldn’t help but to think of my time spent working at Camp Walt Whitman, a residential summer camp located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Walt Whitman, offers sports, swimming, ropes course, and art activities. Furthermore, because this camp has ages ranging from 7 to 15 years old, the activities are catered to specific age groups to create an engaging, learning and fun atmosphere. One of the most memorable days of camp is celebrating the 4th of July with the children. The counselors lead special planned activities that the children partake in. I will briefly explain two of the more popular youth games at our camp.
Watermelon Roll Race is an amusing game to watch and participate in. Use baby oil or vegetable oil to grease up a large watermelon. Line up the children and their watermelons at the start line, after the starting whistle blows race the watermelons by rolling them along the ground towards the finish line! The baby oil makes it a bit more challenging, who likes an easy race anyways?
Another popular game is the Dodge Ball Obstacle Course. Create a race course with obstacles, such as cones, hula-hoops, gymnastic pads, jump ropes, and whatever else you may have on hand. Explain the course to the children, and split them up into teams; you can make it as creative or as easy as you want. The goal is for the children to get to the other side of the obstacle course. To make it more challenging for an older age group, you can add dodge balls! See how fast one team can make it through the obstacle course while the other group tosses dodge balls at them. Makes for an exciting obstacle course race.
These two games are just some of many youth games that can be incorporated into your summer program. Remember, the goal is to tap into their creative side, as well as encouraging them to actively participate. Be sure to register for the Wellness Webinar today at 1:00pm, for more youth ideas regarding the summer months: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/326730142093298178.
National Bike Month is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and is recognized by communities across the country. Since 1956, the month of May has been dedicated to encouraging people to give biking a try.
However, biking is more than just learning how to ride. Biking is a great opportunity to preserve the environment, as well as your personal health. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the top reasons people decide to bike include: turning their commute into a workout, riding to help create a healthier community, riding to avoid traffic, and riding to enjoy a lifelong sport. All of these are great reasons and benefits that also lead to a more active lifestyle.
So how can your department get involved during the last half of May? May is a good month to start to spread the positive benefits of riding bikes. Encourage your department members to ride their bikes to work, or create a riding group. A riding group is the same concept as a run group. Decide on a day, time, location and go ride! Another way is to create a challenge within your department. See how many miles your department can add-up during the next couple weeks. You can continue this challenge into the summer months! A good resource is the National Bike Challenge, starting this month until September. The National Bike Challenge may give your department ideas of how to motivate others to bike.
Another option is to encourage members in your community to participate in the NCRPA social media campaign called Me In My Park, by biking in your local parks! NCRPA is challenging people to upload pictures to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of themselves, or groups of people, leading active lifestyles. Make sure to use the hashtag #MeinMyPark, bonus if you also use #Ncrecre8. Click here to read more about the Me In My Parkchallenge.
We hope you will work with us continue to find innovative ways to inspire your communities to become more active. Create fun and engaging challenges to encourage your town to enjoy the warm weather by riding their bikes. If you have any ideas or programs involving Bike Month, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (email@example.com,http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)
Kendrick Mayes, Garner and Jay Tryon, Indian Trail discuss the 2014 NRPA Annual Conference in the above video blog interview from NRPA.
Viva Las Vegas! This year, the National Recreation and Park Association will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in the exciting city of Las Vegas. For students and young professionals, this year is not only memorable for the significance of the association celebrating 50 years, but also because of the location. However, with limited department funds how can a young professional ensure that they are able to attend NRPA Congress? #Scholarships! That’s right, applying for scholarships through NRPA and NCRPA can help you partially or even completely fund your trip. As a first-time attendee and young professional at the 2014 NRPA Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was fortunate to receive the National Recreation and Park Association Student Scholarship and the National Recreation and Park Association Ethnic Minority Society Scholarship which fully covered my conference registration, travel, lodging and meals.
As the Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department I used a portion of my scholarships to attend the pre-congress workshop Brand+Aid Marketing Institute. Attending this session has helped tremendously with my professional development because I was able to sharpen my current marketing skills and also implement new techniques on the job to make the department better.
Before I attended the NRPA Congress, I remember reading an article at North Carolina Central University written by Ms. Tiffany Johnson from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation about the importance of networking and doing your research before attending Congress. I’m glad she wrote the article because in order to be successful at Congress you definitely need a game plan. The game plan should include options on which sessions you plan to attend, which networking events you plan to sit in on and also what you would like to gain from attending. Before I left for Congress, my Town of Garner business cards had not arrived yet, so I got creative in printing my own cards to pass out after sessions. This proved to be a wise decision, because the worst thing that can happen to a young professional is for them to attend a great session, ask questions, interact with the speakers and the moment comes to exchange contact information and the young professional does not have any business cards.
Along with my NRPA scholarships , I was also able to receive the North Carolina Recreation and Park Scholarship Foundation Fletcher Graduate Scholarship. I used the funds to towards covering additional educational expenses in my journey as a young parks and recreation leader here in NC. I strongly encourage my fellow young professionals to apply for the various scholarships that are available. This money is dedicated to helping professionals ( LIKE YOU!) to continue their education so they can advance in the field. Even if you feel like your resume or your community involvement doesn't compare to someone else, you would be surprised at how many people miss out on scholarships all because they did not take the initiative to apply.
Additionally, I would encourage all young professionals to consider getting involved with networking opportunities, whether it’s a group here in our state with NCRPA or nationally with the NRPA Young Professional Network, NRPA Ethnic Minority Society Network, the NRPA Administrators Network. By doing this, not only do they stay current on receiving scholarships, but they are also in the know about opportunities within the field.
Looking for opportunities to attend the NRPA Congress in Las Vegas? Here are some options: http://buff.ly/1bEQ5cZ
Can you believe it’s almost summer? As summer approaches, it is a great opportunity to discuss some of the previous webinars the Wellness Initiative has hosted during the course of 2015. There is plenty of valuable information and ideas that could potentially kick start a new program within your department! The NCRPA vimeo page has all past webinars recorded for your convenience, hopefully they might spark some inspiration.
The first webinar of the year in late January featured Matt Carusona and myself. We discussed 8 programs for 2015. The webinar shared program ideas and activities that could be implemented year-round. Some ideas included: an outdoor family scavenger hunt, boot camp or yoga in the park, running groups, and beach workouts. If you need more ideas or inspiration for summer programs then you can view the webinar here: https://vimeo.com/127510305
Our February webinar featured Scott Knox from Morrisville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. Scott provided information regarding run groups and training for a 5k race. Scott went over key points, such as getting started, who to reach out to in your community, and vital information for organizing run groups and 5K training. If you want to learn more about run groups, you can view a video of Scotts Webinar here:https://vimeo.com/121048064
The March webinar featured Ellis Hamburger who works on the Communications Team at Snapchat, Inc. Ellis hosted an informative webinar discussing the importance of physical activity for our overall health. Ellis discussed smartphone apps that provide us with the tools and inspiration to remind us to be more active and health aware. To learn more about other apps that inspire and support a healthier, more activity lifestyle please click the following link to listen to Ellis’s webinar:https://vimeo.com/123629169
During our most recent webinar, Beth Farrell of Thomasville Parks and Recreation, discussed the positive contributions to a community when implementing a community garden. Community Garden’s bring together the youth, adults, and seniors in the community, working together to create healthier eating options. Ultimately, it encourages exercise and healthy food access. If you would like to hear more from Beth regarding community gardens, then please click the following link to view her webinar:https://vimeo.com/126809429
Please stay tuned for the next webinar, May 27th at 1:00pm. Remember webinars occur the last Wednesday of every month from 1:00pm-2:00pm. Please mark it in your calendar, it is an opportunity to listen to departments across the state share program ideas and initiatives which ultimately benefit us all.
Last Wednesday we had the privilege of hearing Beth Farrell from Thomasville Parks and Recreation to present our monthly webinar. The discussion was focused on the challenges and success of community gardens. Last May, NCRPA partnered with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) foundation to provide Health Eating Equipment grants to park and recreation agencies across the state. Thomasville was one of the departments to receive funds for equipment to create a community garden at Memorial Park.
Beth’s webinar discussed the positive contributions to a community when implementing a community garden. One of the key components when establishing a community garden is promoting community building. It brings together the youth, adults, and seniors in the community, working together to create healthier eating options. Ultimately, it also encourages exercise and healthy food access. One of the highest impacts on the community includes the educational component of establishing a community garden. A good program to grow from your community gardens is youth afterschool programs. Involving these programs gives youth the opportunity to learn healthy cooking techniques and expose them to a variety of fresh vegetables.
If you would like to hear more from Beth you can view her webinar regarding community garden benefits, please click the following link: https://vimeo.com/126809429
For more information regarding community gardens, then please refer to NCRPA’s Community Gardens webpage. Remember, gardens can be small or large, no matter the size they can have a large impact on the health of your community.
As we approach a new month, it is important to keep finding ways to engage your department and community in an active and healthy lifestyle. The month of May is another perfect opportunity to do so, as it is dedicated to Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM). So what is Global Employee Health & Fitness Month? It is an international and national observance of health and fitness in the workplace. The main priority is to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle through health promotion activities and environments. Organizations are invited to participate in this month long event by challenging their teams to create healthy moments, healthy groups, and developing healthy initiative projects. More information can be found by clicking the following link: http://www.healthandfitnessmonth.com/about
NCRPA’s Wellness Initiative invites your department to participate in Global Employee Health & Fitness Month. Participants can log activities on the GEHFM website during the course of the month, which will allow organizations to track, share, and promote their individual and group activities. If your department needs ideas then please check our Employee Wellness Programs webpage, containing valuable information discussing examples of employee wellness programs in North Carolina. Another great way to become involved is to encourage employees to take part in the #MeInMyPark social media contest. NCRPA is asking department and communities to post pictures to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter of groups or individuals leading healthy active lifestyles at parks or recreation facilities, (don’t forget to use the hashtag #MeinMyPark). So ultimately, not only will your department have a chance to be recognized by NCRPA, but can also participate in the Global Employee Health & Fitness Month challenge!
Let’s continue to inspire our departments and communities to become active during the month of May. If you have any questions or ideas about the #MeinMyPark or the Global Employee Health & Fitness Month Challenge, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org,http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 NCRPA Marketing Summit in Durham, NC. The information shared during the sessions was extremely valuable. As digital media continues to grow it is being embraced and utilized by an assortment of agencies. The questions is; how can we use digital media to promote wellness?
Why is this relevant for wellness? Social media is one of the strongest, (not to mention free, mostly), tools that your parks department can use to their advantage. Social media is one of the primary modes of communication to broadcast breaking and updated news and information. Still not convinced? According to the Pew Research Center, as of September 2014: 71% of online adults use Facebook, 23% of online adults use Twitter, 26% of online adults use Instagram and 28% of online adults use Pinterest, and 28% of adults use LinkedIn.
What can you do with those social media outlets? Facebook allows us to post visually engaging content. You can promote your department’s programs and events by posting pictures and stories. The key is to find a story to tell to create an emotional response. This could be sharing a story of one of your staff members or families in the community. Twitter is widely used by journalist, companies and individuals. It is easy to build a network of users by creating hashtags and geotags. It is also great for instant and constant news, both to share and receive. Instagram can be used to create photo and video content, check out the department of the interiors page for some inspiration (https://instagram.com/usinterior/). Create an engaging and creative competition for users to post pictures helping promote your department. Lastly, Pinterest is good to organize topics, such as arts, sports and special events. Check out how Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources is using Pintrest (https://www.pinterest.com/raleighparks/)
The high percentage of online users tells us that we should communicate to our communities more through social media. Your department can have impact by strategically sharing useful information, whether that be regarding healthy eating or physical activity ideas. Spark ideas by sharing pictures, videos and stories of health related topics. According to the Social Media Examiner, photos accounted for 75% of content posted by Facebook pages worldwide. As well as adding a photo to your tweet, can boost your retweets by 35%. These statistics indicate that by posting visual content related to health and wellness can help increase overall engagement on your social media pages!
We can inspire our communities through the use of the internet by sharing health related information and providing tools to empower change in their daily lives. If you have any ideas on using social media as a positive reinforcement, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (email@example.com, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub).
The past couple blogs have focused on inspiring your departments to promote active living and healthy eating challenges, such as the NPHW “We Can Do Better Contest” by the American Public Health Association and The Ellen DeGeneres #GimmeFive Dance Challenge. The warmer weather has made it perfect to help motivate your community to participate in activities that lead to healthier lives, not only through national challenges, but on a daily basis.
As we continue into warmer months, it is important to remind communities how becoming active outside, especially at community parks, can dramatically improve their overall health. The Trust for Public Land shared a video explaining why it is important for nation’s improvement of health. According to their statistics, 95% of adults, 92% of adolescents and 58% of children don’t meet the daily recommendations for physical activity. However, this trend can be reversed with “steps” in the right direction. It has been proven that the more parks there are in a community, the more people exercise, enhancing both their physical and mental health. Additionally features, such as sport fields, and playground equipment also attract more people to the area, allowing for better use and increased participation. So it is determined that parks are essential to the overall improvement of a communities lifestyle.
So here is the challenge NCRPA is asking from your departments! Last summer NCRPA started a social media campaign called Me In My Park, challenging people to upload pictures to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of themselves, or groups of people, leading active lifestyles. We are reinstituting the challenge this summer, but with an added feature! Starting May 1st, 2015 until August 1st, 2015, NCRPA is asking your department, individuals, and communities to post pictures to social media while at their community park using the hashtag #MeinMyPark, bonus if you also use #Ncrecre8. This time we will be selecting up to 8 of the best pictures that represents a creative and engaging way of leading a healthy life while using park systems. We will select 2 photos for every month of the challenge, and the winners will receive a special NCRecrea8 prize package!
Let’s inspire our communities to become more active during the summer months by sharing health related information and how parks can empower change in their daily lives! If you have any questions or ideas about the #MeinMyPark Challenge, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)
“Things don't have to change the world to be important.” (Steve Jobs). I recently saw this quote and thought about NCRPA. We made an investment in you and NCRPA during 2014 by asking you as members of our profession what you needed from NCRPA. You spoke and we listened. And now we are implementing change in our membership packages. These changes are not going to change the world, but they are important. Important to current and future members, and important to the vitality of NCRPA.
Beginning in July, NCRPA’s agency membership will have a different look. This revised Agency membership is designed to allow and encourage everyone who works in a parks and recreation agency to be a member of NCRPA. The Agency package will include all full-time employees, along with citizen board members, local elected and appointed officials and managers. Individual members will still have their same benefits, but now included with this package will be unlimited Career Connection postings, the ability to add or renew membership by one staff person with one invoice/payment, the ability to have one staff person register multiple individuals for conferences and workshops with one invoice/payment, SWAC Tournament participation, eligibility for agency awards such as Arts and Humanities and the Innovative Program Award, the opportunity to apply for grants through NCRPA partnerships (such as healthy equipment grant $100,000, Nourishing NC $300,000) and the opportunity for an agency profile in NCRPA NEWS magazine.
The fees for the Agency package are based on permanent full-time employees and varies with the size of the agency (see details). Every attempt was made to find a model that was equitable to agencies of varying sizes. Yes, some agencies may be paying more and some will be paying less when we switch from the paying a flat fee per person model we have used since the inception of NCRPA. We have been sharing this information with department directors since it was finalized and hopefully many agencies were able to make adjustments their FY 15-16 budgets. The individual membership is still available for those that deem this their best option for $65.
We also revised the Commercial membership package to be for an individual or for a business that wants to include all of their sales team or staff as NCRPA members. For our colleges and universities, we have a packaged membership that includes the faculty/staff and students. Students who attends a university that has not purchased a College/University package can purchase an individual student membership for $10.
Other than changing the membership year for everyone to July 1 – June 30, there were no changes other to our retired membership.
Updated technology has made these changes to our membership opportunities possible. And with technology there can be challenges. We will be implementing the changes, testing them and then releasing these new options on a staggered calendar. We want this transition to be as seamless as possible for you, the member, and us in the NCRPA office. We appreciate your patience and assistance during this process.
Your NCRPA Board of Directors and staff are excited about this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you during the process and we hope you will encourage others in your department that may not be NCRPA members to join – especially if you have the agency package. If you have questions about this important change, please let me know.
Thanks for all you do to support the profession as a member of NCRPA
It seems that spring is finally in the air! In honor of the beautiful weather, and the first official week of April, my blog will be dedicated to National Public Health Week, April 6th – 12th. Every year during the first full week of April,American Public Health Association brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week, recognizing the contributions of public health and highlighting prominent issues that are important to improving the overall wellness of our nation.
For this week, NCRPA’s challenge to you is to discover creative and engaging ways to promote National Public Health Week. Whether if that’s posting a picture or nutritional facts of ways your community is leading healthy and active lives to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or emailing us directly at: email@example.com.We will be sure to share your creativity and help inspire others to join! Use the hashtags #NCRecre8 and #NPHW (no, the hashtag does not stand for Neil Patrick Harris Week…).
Additionally, the American Public Health Association creates new materials each year that you can use during and after National Public Health Week to continue to raise awareness about public health and prevention. If your department wants more of a challenge, then enter theNPHW “We Can Do Better Contest.”The “We Can Do Better,” contest will show the nation how individuals, families, and communities are committed to making the U.S. the healthiest nation by 2030.
To enter, submit a photo, video, or event page demonstrating a health promotional changed in behaviors byMonday, April 20, at 5p.m.Submissions can be entered two ways:
1.Posting on social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, using the hashtag #NPHW contest.
Need more motivation? All submissions will be recognized and/or uploaded to a dedicated page on www.nphw.org. Winners will be selected based on creativity, amount of impact created by the health promotional change submitted and correlation to this year's NPHW theme. For more information please click the following link: http://tinyurl.com/krasvzg
Last Wednesday, March 25th, the NCRPA Wellness Initiative had the honor to have Ellis Hamburger, Communications team at Snapchat, Inc. host an incredibly informative Wellness Webinar. His webinar focused on the importance of physical activity for our overall health. He opened up his discussion by stating that even moving 30 minutes per day can decrease an overweight person’s chance of getting Type 2 Diabetes by 50 percent. For children, it is about 60 minutes per day of physical movement. Ellis discussed smartphone apps that provide us with the tools and some inspiration to remind us to be more active and health aware.
One of the first apps he suggested, Human, is an activity and calorie tracker. This app inspires you to move 30 minutes or more every day, whether if that’s walking, running, biking or any sort of indoor activity. You can map your runs, walks and activity using GPS and even compete with co-workers, family members or friends.
7 Minute Workout Challenge, is an exercise app that uses a research-backed workout program. Researchers have selected 12 exercises that are performed for 30 seconds with 10 second rest intervals. Exercises are simple to perform, and require little to no equipment. The app also tracks your progress, and results in higher daily metabolism and is equivalent of working out for over an hour. Exercises can include push-ups, wall sits, planks, jumping jacks or lunges, which all can be done outdoors or indoors.
Health for the IPhone and Google Fit for Androids, is an app that tracks your daily activity just by carrying your phone, such as walking, running, and cycling activity. As of now the US adult average amount of steps per-day is 5900 steps, where we should be aiming for at least 10,000 steps per-day. This app will allow you to set goals based on either duration or steps and you are able to see progress throughout the day.
To learn more about other apps that inspire and support a healthier, more activity lifestyle please click the following link to listen to Ellis’s webinar: https://vimeo.com/123629169
Using apps to support making a lifestyle change can provide support and motivation to kick off a healthier you! But it’s not just using an app its making a conscious effort to be more active, Ellis makes great points in the webinar about parking further from the door, getting off one bus stop earlier, or going for a quick walk during a lunch break. We encourage you to share this information and other inspirational ideas with your community through newsletters, or daily health-fact tweets through twitter. Remember, the more creative you are the more excited and involved your community will become.
As I continue my graduate work at NC State, I cannot help but notice the similarities of my research in-connection with my work for the NCRPA Wellness Initiative. Currently I just finished an informative book called Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-being through Urban Landscapes, edited by Lindsay Campbell and Ann Wiesen.
Briefly, this book aims to discuss that the world’s population has shifted to more urban than rural. Because of this shift, the importance of finding ways for humans to stay in contact with the natural environment has increased. The authors discuss that parks, community gardens, botanical gardens, urban gardens, and public housing campuses offer opportunities for restoring both social and health function in urban regions. The book also discusses the positive benefits of nature, which help the improvement of mood, reduction of stress, and decreases the chance of chronic diseases. Furthermore, children’s activity in nature’s surroundings can encourage exploration and building which contribute to positive decision-making, creativity and problem-solving.
This resourceful book reinforces the importance of community gardens and accessible greenways in our communities. Our past blogs have discussed that contact with the natural environment can include physical activity, such as walking, running, and gardening or passive, which is viewing only. Visit the NCRPA Community Gardens for ideas on establishing a garden within your community. Physical Activity in Gardening is another resource containing information describing examples of “aerobic” and “weight-bearing” activities of routine gardening. Remember to share information within your community regarding parks and walking/running path locations, especially now that the weather is warmer.
Get active outdoors this spring!
Have ideas? Please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: