Health and Wellness Benefits of Recreation Trails
The benefits of recreational trails are often taken for granted. Many people tend to focus on the recreational or environmental benefits of trails, failing to see the bigger picture—all the potential benefits that recreational trails can offer to communities, including health benefits and the impact on community pride and identity.
From a hearth and wellness perspective, here are some of the benefits of recreational trails:
● Enhances Physical and Mental Wellbeing
Physical activity is a critical combatant against obesity and other diseases that are associated with inactivity. Whether it is cycling, walking, running, fitness or dance programs, recreational trails provide natural spaces for organized physical activity as well as unstructured spaces that subtlety encourages physical activity. In a past study done by the North Carolina state university to gauge the benefits or value of having a trail in Cary, North Carolina, 72% of the respondents indicated that a trail would offer them ample space to exercise. 57% of the respondents also confirmed that they would exercise more if the trail was created.
This shows that recreational trails stimulate physical activity in people of all ages, which can go a long way in helping them maintain healthy weights and ultimately reduce health care costs. Besides, like health clubs and gyms, recreational trails also serve as a place where people can interact with people who are exercising, which further stimulates physical exercise. Researchers have found that inadequate social support may hinder participation in exercise. Besides, the closer people live to recreational trails, the higher the chances that they will walk or bike to places or use it for exercises.
● Recreational Trails Provide Green Space Which Boosts Quality Of Life
People frequent recreational trails to not only improve their moods but also reinvigorate themselves. A past longitudinal study indicated that people who moved to greener areas had significant improvement in physical well-being and mental health. Another study indicated that greener spaces enhance recovery from a wide range of health conditions, boost immune functioning, and can help diabetics control their blood glucose levels. Additionally, passive leisure activities in recreational trails such as reading and contemplation reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance a sense of wellness. Participation in recreational activities and the time spent in recreational trails can also boost self-esteem and life satisfaction. Recreation also provides perfect opportunities for personal growth and development for people of all ages.
● Enhance social well-being and Eliminates health risks associated with social isolation
Recreational trails provide a social outlet and a great way for people to connect. Over the past few years, social isolation has become an epidemic and is often considered as a potent cause of early death. In fact, research suggests that loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity. High blood pressure, accidents, alcoholism, and dementia are all health issues that become prevalent when social connections are cut.
After-school programs that are often carried in recreational trails provide several developmental opportunities for children and the youth. For instance, children get an opportunity to build social relationships—through participating in clubs, social organizations, planning trail trips using tools like Katy Trail Maps, and making new friends. This can go a long way in decreasing anti-social behaviours among the youth.
● Allow People to Connect With Nature
Recreational trails are spaces where people get an opportunity to connect with Mother Nature. Getting out in nature is considered to be one of the most powerful ways of calming ourselves and lifting our moods, especially when we are feeling anxious or stressed up. Even having a view of nature through the window has been proven to have a lot of benefits, including speeding up recovery from surgery, boosting work performance, and increasing work satisfaction. So, recreational trails have many positive impacts on our physical and mental health, including reducing stress levels, lowering blood pressure, and supporting cognitive development in children among others. Recreational trails may also foster a better understanding and appreciation of different aspects of culture, ecology, and language, all of which are critical to our well-being.
The Bottom line
As you can see, recreational trails contribute to our health and overall wellbeing in multiple ways. Trail experiences play a critical role in promoting physical activities among people of all ages, combating stress, building stringer social relationships, and allowing people to connect with nature, all of which are critical to human health and wellness.