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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.

 

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2017: Year in Review

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, December 18, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017

It was a great pleasure seeing so many of our at the 2017 Carolina’s Joint Conference last week! Now that conference is over and 2017 is almost completed, this blog will look back at some of my favorite NCRPA wellness initiative content from 2017.

 

  •  In November, the NCRPA wellness blog covered the results from a recent NRPA Park Pulse survey. The survey found that three in five Americans would take up walking or jogging through local parks and trails if they were advised to be more physically active by a doctor! Personally, I think that it is great that parks and recreation is being looked at as a potential solution to fight against the health afflictions that are affecting America. Click this link to read the blog post!
  • The 10-minute Walk campaign is the start of a multi-year partnership between cities and mayors across America to increase access to parks. According to NRPA, “Beginning in 2018, the campaign partners will be working with cities across the country on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision.” Check out this link to read more!
  •  In May,  the wellness initiative interviewed Greg Walker, Director of Fletcher Parks and Recreation about their numerous community partners in wellness. Click this link to read the interview. If your department has any cool wellness partnerships, I’d love to know about it. Email me at diquan@ncrpa.net to share!
  •  Also in 2017, the NCRPA Team was fortunate enough to receive grant funding for stand up desks! Sitting for long periods of time is commonly known to be bad for overall health. According to the Washington Post, risks of sitting for prolonged periods include heart disease, sore shoulders and back, and poor circulation in legs. This can cause problems for those of us with jobs that require us to sit down. Click this link to learn more about stand up desks!
  •  Healthy Out-of-School Time, or HOST standards, were created by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation , and give out of school time providers a great resource to offer healthy snacks and physical activity to children. Click this link to learn more about HOST Standards and how your department can adopt some of them.


I hope that you have enjoyed all of the exciting health and wellness content that the NCRPA Wellness Initiative has offered this year! With the holiday season approaching, the weekly wellness bulletin is taking a brief hiatus and will return in January along with new content and some big news! Have a restful and enjoyable new year!


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  health  healthy living  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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Conference Wellness Tips

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, December 11, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

In honor of our conference, this week’s wellness blog focuses on how to stay healthy when you are away from home.  These five conference wellness tips will allow you make the most out of your time in Greensboro!

 

1. Utilize your hotel’s fitness room for a quick workout! You would be surprised at how many health benefits just 30 minutes on a treadmill can burn. Both of our conference hotel locations offer fitness rooms for you to conquer this. Waking up a little earlier to walk on the treadmill in the morning will help you get your day started off the right way.

 

2. Make sure to get a full night's sleep! This will give you more energy throughout the day. Determine what time you need to wake up to make the most out of conference, and plan accordingly the night before. It is recommended by doctors that the average adult needs 7.5-8 hours of sleep every night.

 

3. Make healthy food choices! Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables everyday while at conference. If you have any fruits and vegetables at home, bring them along! They will serve as easy snacks to save money and incorporate some freshness into your hotel diet. Also, most restaurants offer menu guides on the healthy food options they offer. Use these to make healthy choices when eating out.

 

4. Take a stretch break in between conference sessions. Use this time to stretch those muscles and walk around. Stretching is important to do throughout the day, and it gets the blood flowing throughout your body. For some more information on the health benefits of stretching, and some tips to maximize your stretching, please check out this article.


5. 
Get out and explore some of the great parks and facilities that Greensboro has to offer! If you have some extra time in between your busy conference schedule, check out some of the great facilities and parks in Greensboro. For a full list of Greensboro Parks and Recreation facilities and parks, check out this link.


At this year’s conference, we have a ton of awesome wellness-related sessions! Attend the sessions marked with Bitmoji Diquan to learn how to incorporate health and wellness programs, policies, and infrastructure in your department.


I hope these tips help you make healthy choices while at conference. Looking forward to spending time with all of our conference attendees over the next few days!


Until next time,

 

Diquan


Tags:  carolinas joint conference  healthy living  NCRPA Wellness  wellness 

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Winter is (almost) here!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, December 4, 2017
Updated: Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy December! With the holidays, cooler temperatures, and shorter days, December can be a tough time for health and wellness. This wellness blog will give you and your department a few tips on how to promote winter wellness in your community.


While many people in your community exercise outdoors during most of the year, Winter arriving may cause changes to their routine. This could leave many people in your community without regular exercise. If your department has a fitness facility, one way to combat this would be to offer a reduced price seasonal pass to appeal to these individuals. If your community does not have a fitness center, you can still encourage people to use your facilities to stay active! Open gym sessions and group fitness courses can be great ways to get people active.


There are also a number of creative, fun winter themed ideas that your department can consider holding this winter. Artificial snow is a great option for providing the required snow when the weather’s not cooperating. At these events, snow is usually set up on a hill for sledding, or in a field for other snow activities. Even some of our departments from the coast have success with artificial snow! If your department is located near a ski resort, establish a contact with them. You could potentially hold partner events where more people can have fun in the snow. One company I have heard of that a number of our departments who hold snowy events use is Snow My Yard.


These fun events are great ways to promote physical activity! According to Orthopedic surgeon Angela Smith from WebMd.com, ice skating builds muscles, boosts balance, flexibility, quickness, and agility. Additionally,  Both sledding and other traditional snow activities burn calories and are fun ways to get people active in the colder weather.


Last year, the Wellness Blog discussed an annual snow event hosted by Swansboro Parks and Recreation. Click this link to review the old blog post.


Hopefully, this wellness blog has given you some tips on how to make the most out of the colder weather that winter brings. Encourage your communities to stay safe and get outside this winter!


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  fitness  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness  winter 

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Holiday Family Health and Wellness

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 27, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time for you and your department to promote family friendly health and wellness in your community. Children are out of school for winter break and their parents/guardians likely having a few days off. This creates a great opportunity for family health and wellness! This wellness blog will give you a few easy ideas to promote family health and wellness in your lives as well as your community.


According to a PBS article, “Children are watching their parents’ every move, mirroring their every action; if parents are sedentary, there is a good chance their children will be too.” The article goes on to state “However, parents who eat healthily and exercise with their children on a regular basis are teaching them many valuable lessons.” Participating in health activities as a family is a great way to promote health and wellness to children, and may help create long-lasting habits in a child’s life.


Have you heard of the #OptOutside movement? Each year, REI (and a few other retail stores) close for Black Friday, and encourage the public to get outside  and active. This movement uses the social media hashtag #OptOutside and encourages people to post pictures of their outdoor experience. Although your department will likely not start a national campaign, encouraging families to get outside during their vacation time can be an easy and effective way to promote health and wellness.


First, select a park, trail, or activity that is family friendly in your community. Make sure that your location is appropriate for people of all ages. Once your ideal family-friendly location is selected, start spreading the word to your community by using social media, flyers, and other ways of communication. Be sure to emphasize that this is a great way to spend quality family time together during the holidays. Sometimes, it just takes a little push to get people outside and active! Create a local hashtag for family’s to use to share their experience on social media!


Additionally, your department may be holding seasonal events to celebrate this time of year. Whether you are holding a holiday themed 5k, winter wonderland, New Years celebration, parade, or other special event, there are some easy ways to encourage family health and wellness. Set up a table at the event that includes family friendly and healthy holiday recipes.


Below, are a few additional ways to promote family health and wellness in your community this holiday season:

  • Family Scavenger Hunt: One way to get families active and engaged in your parks is to create a family scavenger hunt! Write holiday related clues for 10 to 15 objects in your park or facility and print out a few copies of the objects. Families can then complete the scavenger hunt by taking photos of the objects. Once the hunt is completed, a small prize can be given out.

  • Family Fun Night: Family fun nights are a great way to get the whole family engaged. When planning a family fun night, choose games that are appropriate for the whole family. Simple games like capture the flag and obstacle courses come to my mind. Most importantly, provide a safe space and opportunity for active family fun.  A past wellness blog post discussed family fun nights in depth.

  • Family Cooking Courses: Family cooking courses can be used to introduce fun, easy and healthy recipes that are appropriate for the whole family. There are a lot of good resources online for finding family-friendly healthy recipes. Try Food Network or All Recipes for help.

  • Family Walking Group: Walking groups are a different way to get families active. Start a walking group geared towards families! Children, teenagers, and parents can connect with each other while walking in safe and fun locations. The NCRPA Wellness Webinars have covered running and walking groups in the past. Check out recordings of these webinars for extra help!

I hope that this blog post has given you some ways to promote family health and wellness in your community! If your department has a great family wellness program, I’d love to hear about it. Email me at diquan@ncrpa.net to share!


Until next time,


Diquan


Tags:  Family  Family Time  Health  NCRPA Wellness 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is almost here! With the holiday season upon us, it can be hard to keep up with normal healthy routines. This wellness blog will give you some tips to have a healthy holiday.

 

It would not be Thanksgiving without the delicious food! The big event of the day for many American families is gathering around the table and sharing an indulgent meal. While this one day of delicious food will likely be a part of your traditions forever, there are a few simple ways to make the day a bit healthier that will leave you feeling better at the end of the day.

 

1. Eat your vegetables:  Roasted vegetables can be a tasty and healthy Thanksgiving side dish! Instead of filling up on less healthy options, eat extra roasted vegetables instead. Not only will eating extra vegetables help you avoid less healthy options, but they can be a great source of nutrients.

2. Portion control is key: On Thanksgiving Day when all of the food looks so delicious, I sometimes find myself eating way more than I probably should. This results in me feeling terrible after the meal. To avoid this feeling, make sure you use appropriate portion control! This article has some easy guidelines to follow to make sure your feast is appropriately sized.  

3. Don’t skip meals: I must admit that in the past, Thanksgiving dinner was my only meal of the day. Although you may think that skipping breakfast will “leave more space” for dinner, it is an unhealthy game to play. Instead eat a light, healthy breakfast to start your day. Skipping breakfast (and meals in general) can lead to overeating later in the day.

4. Incorporate exercise into your day: If the weather is nice, Thanksgiving can be a great day to go for a relaxing walk outside. Gather your friends and family and make it a new tradition! Additionally on Black Friday, “#OptOutside”, get active and find time to explore one of your local parks.

5. Help clean-up after the meal: Although this tip is not the most fun, doing normal household chores can actually be a great way to burn calories! So between the food, family, and football, help clean up!

 

If your department is having a Thanksgiving celebration, try adopting some of these practices. You can still promote wellness in the workplace, while enjoying all that Thanksgiving has to offer. I hope you all have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

Until next time,

Diquan

Tags:  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  thanksgiving  Wellness 

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Parks for Health

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 13, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A recent NRPA “Park Pulse” survey found that three in five Americans would take up walking or jogging through local parks and trails if they were advised to be more physically active by a doctor! This wellness blog will detail some of the findings, and share some ways for your department to get involved.


In the past few years, the idea of Park Prescriptions has been increasingly growing. Doctors are essentially prescribing their patients to go outside and get active, something that often involves using local park systems.  (to find out more about the Park Prescription model, please check out this website!) The findings of the survey indicate that the general public agrees with and is willing to accept this model.


Below, I’ve included some of the key findings from the Park Pulse survey, courtesy of NRPA:

  • Over 3 in 5 Americans (63 percent) would take up walking or jogging through local parks, trails or around the neighborhood if they were advised to be more physically active by a doctor

  • One in three Americans say they would work out at a local gym or rec center

  • Baby boomers are more likely than Gen Xers or millennials to take up walking or jogging through local parks, trails or around the neighborhood if they were advised to be more physically active by a doctor

  • One in three parents would ride a bicycle at a local park, trail or around the neighborhood versus one in four adults without a child in the home saying they would do the same


So how can your department tap into this movement? Try approaching your local physicians with some of the results of the survey! It does not have to be a full-blown park prescription program, but rather letting the medical professional that your facilities would be a great resource for their patients to use to exercise.


If your department is interested in establishing a partnership with medical professionals, here are a few tips to help:

  • Compile materials to distribute to medical professionals.

  • Get creative when looking for potential medical provider partners

    • Use the internet, phonebook, and word-of-mouth when finding medical providers to partner with.

    • University medical programs, local hospitals, and private practices can be potential partner


It is great to know that parks and recreation is being looked at as a potential solution to fight against the health afflictions that are affecting America. Through your programs and facilities, our field can make a big difference, and it’s great to know that others are realizing it too.


Until next time,


Diquan


Tags:  Health and Wellness  Healthy Living  ncrpa wellness  Wellness 

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November is American Diabetes Month

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 6, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I can’t believe that it is already November! If you did not know, November is American Diabetes Month, as designated by the American Diabetes Association. This wellness blog will give some brief background of diabetes and the links to physical activity and healthy nutrition, and give your department a few ideas to implement programming to help combat against it.


According to the American Diabetes Association, “Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease”. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Different factors, including genetics and some viruses, may contribute to type 1 diabetes. Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications.”


The other type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic “More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren't enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.” There is also evidence that type 2 diabetes


It may be shocking, but one in 11 Americans are living with diabetes.While the risk factors and cause of type 1 diabetes are not conclusive, there are a number of associations between type 2 diabetes and inactivity, poor diet, obesity, and high blood pressure. This is where your department programming can come into play.


Some departments offer healthy cooking and nutrition courses based on the special needs of different ailments. If your department has the capacity to offer cooking courses, try offering a diabetes nutrition course! This could be a multi-week course, or even a one time only special program. Check out this webpage for some quick meals for people with diabetes. Additionally, the American Diabetes Association offers a cookbook with easy meals, grocery lists, and nutritional information.


For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, physical activity is extremely important. Exercises courses geared towards individuals living with diabetes could be an option! As with offering exercise programs for anyone, there are a few precautions to take. First, exercise and physical activity can lower blood sugar in individuals with diabetes. If your department is offering exercise, follow the guidelines detailed at this link.


Additionally, go over these 11 injury free exercise tips from the American Diabetes Association to help ensure that your participants are being safe.


Lastly, check out this page to see how your department can get involved in American Diabetes Month.


Until next time,
Diquan


Tags:  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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Last Minute Halloween Safety Tips!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 30, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halloween is tomorrow! A big part of wellness is promoting safety in our communities. This wellness blog will give your department some quick tips and best practices to promote in advance to the big day tomorrow.


According to SafeKids.com, “On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.” Dark clothing, coupled with dark road conditions and heavy foot traffic on the streets can make trick-or-treating a dangerous affair.


While trick-or-treating in your community may not be happening in park and recreation facilities, your department can still help spread tips and best practices to help ensure safety. Below, I’ve compiled a list of quick Halloween safety tips from the National Safety Council, Safe Kid’s Worldwide, and the CDC for both trick-or-treaters and motorists:


  • Teach your children to never enter a stranger's home or car

  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home

  • If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks

  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.  Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.

  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs

  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully

  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you

  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.

  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

There are some simple ways that your department can help spread these tips to your community! First, use your social media platforms to share some of these best practices. Post a list of Halloween safety tips that apply to your community!


Additionally, if your department has any out of school time programs, use the time leading up to Halloween night to help educate your participants. Print handouts of these Halloween Tips to send home with the kids!  Activities like this word scramble would be great to do to drive some of these safety tips home!


I hope that you have a great Halloween!


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  safety  Youth Safety 

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10-minute Walk Campaign

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 23, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NRPA is partnering with The Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute on a nationwide 10-Minute Walk Campaign. The goal of this campaign is to ensure that each person in every US city has a park within a 10-minute walk.


According to NRPA, one and three Americans do not have a park within a 10-minute walk. That’s a number totaling more than 100 million people! The 10-minute Walk campaign aims to change this alarming statistic.


The 10-minute Walk campaign is the start of a multi-year partnership between cities and mayors across America to increase access to parks. According to NRPA, “Beginning in 2018, the campaign partners will be working with cities across the country on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision.”


A 10-minute walk to a park is important for a variety of reasons. First, the health and wellness benefits of park access are overwhelming. Research shows that walking for 30 minutes per day reduces the risk for depression, heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis. Additionally, people living within a 10-minute walk of a park are more likely to participate in physical activity, and have lower rates of obesity. For more information on the health benefits of walking in local parks, check out this video!


In addition to the health benefits associated with parks, NRPA cites a number of other reasons that demonstrate the importance of having access to parks. Click here to view the research behind these benefits!


Interested in getting involved in the 10-minute Walk Campaign? Click this link to see all of the cities that have already signed up. As of now, Durham, Charlotte, and Greensboro have entered the commitment. One way to support the campaign is by thanking mayors and sharing the campaign in your cities. Some ways to do this include:


  • Thank participating mayors for making parks a priority

  • Ask new mayors to publicly endorse the campaign

  • Share the 10-minute walk vision with your professional and personal network


Also, share some of these promotional materials to educate your community about the campaign, and to generate more interest in walking efforts.


You can also personally sign up to support this effort at this website. Encourage interested citizens, elected officials, and media members to also sign up.


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  walking  Wellness 

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Halloween Health

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 16, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Halloween is right around the corner! With all of the candy and sweet treats associated with the holiday, it can be hard to create healthy Halloween programming. This wellness blog will give your department a few ideas to incorporate healthy ideas into your Halloween programmings.


Trick-or-Treaters are normally expecting candy, but they may be just as happy with other fun Halloween related giveaways. Websites like Oriental Trading are great places to find non-candy alternatives to hand out at your Halloween events. Giveaway items like kites, balls, and frisbees would be great ways to get kids outside and active while still getting in the Halloween spirit.


If your department is handing out candy there are a few policies you can enact. Limiting the amount given to a few pieces per person. Mixing candy with non-candy giveaways could also be a good tactic. Additionally, candy selection can be vital. This website has listed calories, sugar (G), and fat (G) of popular Halloween candy. Some selections are better than others!


Halloween can be a surprisingly effective way to get people outside and walking. If you think about it, the act of trick-or-treating does a great job of promoting walking! This could be a great way for your department to encourage people to come out to your facilities, walk around in their costumes, and collect goodies.


If your department has a greenway, trail system, or walkable park, try setting up a Halloween event! Set up stations along a designated path with different Halloween crafts, trick-or-treat goodies, and activities.


To promote health and wellness, one station could “spooky” exercises like “Frankenstein Walks” and more contained in this website. Another station could include recipe cards for healthier Halloween treats.


For adults and children, Halloween themed 5k runs/walks, haunted trails, and more could be good options. Create a fun environment by allowing people to come to these events dressed in their costumes, and provide a safe place for them to run/walk.


Last year, the wellness initiative wrote about the idea of Halloween candy buy-back programs. Dentist offices have been doing these types of programs for a while and could be a great partnership for your department. Check out this link to check out our Halloween themed post from 2016.  


I hope this helps you in planning your Halloween events for this year and in the future!

Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  wellness 

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NRPA Instructor Training Grants

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 9, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NRPA is partnering with the CDC to offer grants to help improve healthy aging in your departments.This wellness blog will detail the three different grant opportunities that are being offered, and provide information on how to apply.


According to the NRPA grant application, “NRPA is seeking local park and recreation agencies to join efforts to increase the availability, participation, and sustainable support for programs that positively impact chronic disease management, increases in physical activity, and the quality of life for individuals.” It is worth noting that each of the grant opportunities that will be discussed in this wellness blog are for instructor training.


The first instructor training grant that NRPA and the CDC are providing help in delivering Walk with Ease programs. Walk with Ease is an evidence-based walking program geared towards older adults with arthritis. It is a low-impact six-week program, that offers structured walks and provides information to participants. The program helps to teach people how to safely and comfortably incorporate physical activity into their everyday lifestyle. There are 175 instructor grants available for this opportunity, with a maximum of two grants awarded per department.


The second instructor training grant opportunity is for the Active Living Every Day program. Active Living Every Day is a 12-week program that that teaches sedentary people the skills necessary to overcome barriers to physical activity. According to their website, “Active Living Every Day (ALED) uses facilitated group-based problem-solving methods to integrate physical activity into everyday living.” There are 50 of these grants available through NRPA, with each a maximum of two grants awarded per department.


Lastly, Fit & Strong is the third instructor training grant being offered. Fit & Strong is a physical activity and behavioral-change 8 or 12-week program that teaches sedentary adults with joint pain and stiffness how to engage in safe and effective exercise. This program has “has demonstrated significant functional and physical activity improvements in this population.” 50 Fit & Strong grants will be awarded by NRPA, with a limit of two grants per department.


All three of these grants would be a great way for your department to encourage healthy aging through your programs. These programs are all evidenced based interventions and endorsed by NRPA. Additionally, all of the instructor training will be conducted online!


To find out which one(s) of these programs would be appropriate to incorporate in your department, use this program assessment tool provided by NRPA. Then, apply for the programs at this link. There are already a handful of departments in North Carolina who have implemented one or more of these programs and I’d love to see even more!


Until next time,
Diquan

Tags:  funding  grants  money  ncrpa wellness  Wellness 

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Fall is here!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 2, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall is officially here! With cooler temperatures, great produce, and the start of the holiday season, autumn brings a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  This wellness blog will give your department a few ideas to incorporate wellness into your fall programming.


Fall foliage is one of the most beautiful things our state has to offer. The autumnal colors of red, yellow, and brown make for something special and are a great opportunity for outdoor recreation programs. Promote fall foliage walks throughout your parks. Find out when the peak time of fall foliage is in your area using this map, and spread the word. This can be done using flyers and social media posts. Have participants take pictures of their walk and share them with your department.


Cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage could create the perfect environment to take “indoor” programs outside. Check out this recording of our September Wellness Webinar a few weeks ago to get insight on moving group fitness courses outdoors.


Fall produce is another great aspect of the season changing. The North Carolina Produce Availability Chart is a handy resource to use will give you all of the seasonal produce. Apples, corn, and of course, pumpkins are some of the produce coming into season all across North Carolina.  You may be able to get cheap produce to give out during your recreation programs. Take advantage of the season and stock up on all the produce fall has to offer!


Another way to incorporate fall produce into your programming is to hold a fall harvest celebration! These celebrations are covered in depth in the NRPA October Community Health and Gardening curriculum. Click this link to check it out!


One more resource to look at pertaining to fall fitness is this article from WebMD.com. This post offers 10 tips for fall fitness and includes tips like dressing in layers, taking advantage of the weather, and prepare for extended hours of darkness. Be sure to keep these tips in mind when planning fall festivities.


I hope that this wellness blog has given you some great ideas for fall!

Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  fitness  NCRPA Wellness  wellness 

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Walk to School Day

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, September 25, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 18, 2017

Next Wednesday, October 4th is Walk to School Day! Walk to School Day is a great opportunity to partner with your local school system to encourage the use of nearby park and recreation land as safe routes to get to school. This wellness blog will detail Walk to School Day and give your department some tips on how to get involved.


According to the Walk to School Day website, “International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.”


Walk to School Day was created by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, who believes “in the importance and joy of safe walking and biking. We provide ways for communities to get started and offer the best information available to make the future they envision a reality.”


Walking, in general, has tons of health benefits. First, it can help children build stronger bones, increase stamina, and decrease the risk for obesity. Walking to school can encourage your community to incorporate regular physical activity into their daily routines. As we know, physical inactivity can lead to negative health outcomes like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. If participating in Walk to School day is an enjoyable experience, participants may want to make it a regular thing!


According to the Walk to School Day website, encouraging walking to school has a lot of other benefits including:

 

  • Safer streets - Communities with higher rates of walking and bicycling tend to have lower crash rates for all travel modes.

  • Cleaner Environment - When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school instead of riding in a car, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles. 

  • Promoting Safety - Priority must be placed on making it possible for everyone to walk safely, especially in neighborhoods and school zones. 


To view a full list of benefits, please visit this page!


How can your department get involved with Walk to School Day? See if your local schools are registered for Walk to School Day at this website. This may be the opportunity for a great partnership! For example, if your department has any trail or greenway system that leads to near a school, these could be great routes to encourage the use of. Additionally, your before and after school programming may be a great place to start.


If you are participating in Walk to School Day, I’d love to know about it! Email me at diquan@ncrpa.net to share. Have a great week!


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  NCRPA Wellness  walking  Wellness 

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Outdoor Group Fitness Courses

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, September 18, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

This Friday, September 22nd at 1:00 pm, Kasey Summers from Mount Airy Parks and Recreation joins us for our September Wellness Webinar! Kasey will discuss the city's outdoor group fitness classes. The webinar will discuss courses offered, challenges of offering group fitness classes outdoors, instructor training, and more! This wellness blog will focus on group fitness courses and offer more ideas on events to bring outside now that the weather is a bit milder.


Group fitness courses are a very popular way that people consume fitness. Studies have shown that that fellow exercisers keep you motivated while exercising and that watching others & learning proper form reduces the risk of injury.


There are a variety of other benefits to group fitness courses including accountability, socialization, consistent schedule, and when developed by a qualified instructor, a safe and effective workout.


When offering group fitness courses, selecting a qualified instructor may be the difference between a great class and a not so great class. There are a number of pieces of training that are available to instructors, including a variety of different certification programs.


Organizations that offer certifications to look for include the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise (ACE) Fitness, and the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Additionally due to the rigorous aspect of group fitness courses, selecting an instructor with a CPR/AED Certification may be a good idea.


Additionally, this time of year brings the opportunity to move programs back outside. While our webinar focuses on outdoor group fitness courses, there are other traditional indoor activities that can be moved outdoors. Even if it is not a planned outdoor course, on a beautiful mild Autumn day, you could give registrants the choice to go outside. This would give them the chance to take in the beautiful scenery and the added benefits of vitamin D from the sun.


I hope that you join us on this Friday, September 22nd for our wellness webinar! This topic will be covered in detail, along with some great examples of how you can bring this concept to your department. To register for the webinar, click this link.


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  Health and Wellness  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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Back to School Wellness

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, September 11, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2017

With traditional school back in full swing, I thought it would be a good idea to cover some healthy practices that your department should adopt for your out of school time programs. Whether it is before and after school care, or a track out camp program, this wellness blog will give you some ideas to implement healthy practices.


The first practice to consider is adopting the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG) Healthy Out of School Time Standards (HOST). According to the AHG website, the HOST standards “gives out-of-school time providers a science-based framework designed to help create environments where youth are encouraged to eat healthier and move more.” The website continues to say “Our initiative works to support the staff, families, and youth at these sites (Afterschool programs, community centers, summer camps, and other out-of-school time settings) around the country in their efforts to help young people make healthy life choices.


To assist in the adoption of HOST standards in your department, there are a few steps to take. First, take the HOST assessment. This assessment helps your department identify current strengths and weaknesses for 11 Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards.


To learn more about the HOST Standards, click this link to read the wellness blog post from March.


NCRPA’s Wellness Initiative has also compiled resources to help in offering healthy snacks to the children in your programs. First, there’s the Healthy Snacks Guidelines page on the Wellness Toolkit. This page provides guidelines for selecting healthy options to have for children in your programs, as well as other resources to help you incorporate healthy snacks into your department.


Additionally, check out our NCRPA Wellness Webinar from 2014. This webinar expands on the information in the wellness toolkit and will give you more information on offering healthy snacks in your out of school time programming.


The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has developed healthy eating and physical activity standards for children grades K-12 that are in before-school, after-school, and summer camp program through their Commit to Health program.  These standards include a number of physical activity and healthy eating goals. For a summarized version of the standards, visit the NCRPA Wellness Toolkit.


I hope that this wellness blog has given you some resources to help with your back to school programming!


Tags:  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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