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Kentuckians Urged to Get Outdoors During National Park and Recreation Month

PHOTO: July is National Park and Recreation Month in Kentucky and throughout the nation, and the theme "Out is In" is something this kayaker is doing at Lake Reba in Richmond. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.
PHOTO: July is National Park and Recreation Month in Kentucky and throughout the nation, and the theme "Out is In" is something this kayaker is doing at Lake Reba in Richmond. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.
July 15, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentuckians are being encouraged to venture beyond their homes and offices this month, and head outdoors during National Park and Recreation Month, running throughout July.

Part of National Park and Recreation Month is the theme "Out is In." Lauren Hoffman, director of marketing and communications with the National Recreation and Park Association, says her organization is challenging Americans to move an indoor activity like a work meeting or meal into the outdoors. She hopes this will lead to people developing a more active lifestyle throughout the year.

"There are various studies that show parks and outdoor time can really help improve your mental health and reduce stress," says Hoffman. "Parks and recreation provide the opportunity to get outside and get physically active."

Hoffman says a recent study shows about 30 percent of Americans don't spend any time outdoors on a daily basis. The same study found that even those who manage to get outdoors are typically there for less than 30 minutes per day.

Brad Chambers, director of Lexington Parks and Recreation, says getting kids away from their video games is also a challenge.

"The question is what can we do to encourage kids to get back outside and realize the value of play, not to mention the physical exercise component and how valuable that is," says Chambers. "The obesity rate for kids nowadays is horrendous, and part of our responsibility is to combat that as much as we can."

Chambers says in Lexington they've tried to expand what parks offer to children beyond the typical playgrounds and ball fields experience. He notes a variety of summer camps as well as nature-based adventure programs.

"It demonstrates how many great opportunities there are to really get back to nature," says Chambers. "Finding out what fireflies look like in a natural habitat is just one example."

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY