Prescription for Parks
Geauga Park District and University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center are excited to introduce a new collaboration with a focus on health, aimed at making sure Geauga County residents are aware of all the awesome and totally free ways their parks can help them get and stay fit all year round.
Prescription for Parks recently began with displays in 10 primary care physicians’ offices to help them “prescribe” outdoor activities like walking, jogging, biking, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
Pictured are (L to R) Donald DeCarlo, MD, UH Geauga Medical Center chief medical officer; Sallie Messerly, community outreach and education; and John Oros, Geauga Park District executive director. The three met in the fresh air outside UH Geauga to discuss the collaboration with interested media May 23.
Each prescription card, paired with a map of all 22 open parks in Geauga Park District, says, “Studies show that exposure to Nature contributes to your physical and mental wellbeing,” and includes a place for doctors to sign off on select activities. Refills, they also specify, are unlimited.
Reflecting on the new collaboration, Geauga Park District Executive Director John Oros recalled a life-changing event he experienced at 42 years of age.
“The heart-related event made me even more aware of the importance of exercise,” Oros said. “Today, my doctors continue to prescribe cardiovascular activity. What better place to work on a healthy heart than our Geauga parks?
“Partnering with University Hospitals Geauga makes perfect sense – just one more way we’re trying to make sure Geauga County residents are aware of everything they can do in their parks, no matter what their age or ability,” Oros continued. “Your local UH doctor can prescribe one of these parks for physical or mental wellness. During my time off, I often find myself enjoying one of the 78 trails totaling close to 70 miles. I hope our county residents will join me for a walk.”
“Most people know that being active is part of a healthy lifestyle, but there are a myriad of reasons why they don’t exercise,” said Donald DeCarlo, MD, UH Geauga Medical Center chief medical officer. “This collaboration between UH and Geauga Park District connects the proven health benefits of physical activity with the beauty and solace of Nature in a unique way that makes exercise fun. We hope a ‘prescription’ for activity in the parks will be the start of lasting, healthy changes in people’s lives.”
Prescription for Parks is just one way Geauga Park District and UH Geauga hope to lower obesity rates and inspire more active lifestyles. Physical activity has always been advised to fight a myriad of ailments, and doing so in Nature has proven to decrease blood flow to a portion of the brain known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex, also assisting with reduction of anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue.
“Experiencing Nature is not only a perfect way to rejuvenate yourself, it’s also great for inspiring a more active lifestyle,” Geauga Park District Chief Naturalist John Kolar said. “From taking a hike at Claridon Woodlands to borrowing a kayak at Headwaters Park, there are limitless ways that one can become more physically fit while also exploring Geauga County’s incredible natural areas.
“All at once, being in Nature is great for our minds and our bodies, as well as the environment, since these experiences also make people more likely to protect and preserve natural resources and areas.”
Geauga Park District previously took another playful foray into residents’ health by creating a three-minute promotion for Outsidea, “defined by independent researchers worldwide as the action by participants to interface with Nature as a method to experience physical and emotional health benefits.” View this playful spot on YouTube at this link.
About Geauga Park District
Established in 1961, today’s Geauga Park District is home to more than 60 miles of trails to explore throughout 22 open parks in Geauga County. Its mission is to preserve, conserve and protect the natural features of Geauga County and to provide outdoor recreational experiences to its residents of every age, every ability and at all times of the year.
Last year offered 904 public and requested naturalist programs; 2018 debuts the new Claridon Woodlands and its unique array of recreational opportunities including a ropes course, boulder wall, pump track/single mountain bike track and Nature-based playground officially opening for public use May 30.
To explore all that you can do in your Geauga Park District, please visit the parks’ new-and-improved website at www.geaugaparkdistrict.org.
About University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center
Founded in 1952 and beginning formal operations in 1959, University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center is a non-profit acute care facility providing a full range of services to residents in Geauga, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull counties in Northeast Ohio.
The hospital is located at 13207 Ravenna Road in Chardon on a picturesque 65-acre campus in the heart of Geauga County and now touches more than 100,000 individual lives each year through direct services and community outreach.
Services encompass an array of inpatient and outpatient medical and surgical specialties, emergency care, health and wellness education. In addition, UH Geauga Medical Center is one of the largest employers in the county and is continuously growing to meet the increasing demand for quality, state-of-the-art services.
As part of the University Hospitals health system, UH Geauga Medical Center provides community-based health care with direct access to the clinical and research centers of excellence at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. These centers are recognized world-wide for clinical innovation and leading-edge medical research.