Washington State Parks has partnered with Park Rx America to help make Washingtonians healthy. Working directly with healthcare providers and their respective organizations, Park Rx makes it easy for healthcare providers to prescribe parks and other natural areas to their patients in the clinical practice setting.
More than 100 million Americans currently suffer from a chronic disease (e.g., coronary heart disease, stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and mental health conditions). More than two thirds of American adults currently suffer from overweight/obesity, which contributes to chronic disease. Chronic disease results in decreased quality of life, and ultimately, premature death.
Spending time in natural environments increases physical activity and decreases the risk of developing chronic disease. Park Rx is a low-cost intervention that uses a known, generally trusted, and accessible resource – parks – to influence positive health outcomes.
With the click of a mouse, healthcare providers can help find the best park that fits their patients’ needs.
It’s simple. Healthcare providers need to register online, then watch the short video on how to prescribe parks to their patients while in a clinical setting.
An early proponent of Park Rx is Dr. Anderson, a physician with Family Care Network in Bellingham, who quizzes patients about their interests, checks a searchable database for information on parks in or near their zip code, and then writes a script for specific activities. He advised one of his patients with uncontrolled anxiety to walk throughout a local park every day with her family. Within three weeks, she felt like she had her life back!
“The health benefits of being out in nature are clear, and patients love getting a prescription for a treatment modality that is effective, is free of side effects and makes them feel better!” said Anderson.
What could a prescription look like?
- Take a 10 minute walk three times a week on a trail at Dash Point State Park.
- Read a book while sitting next to the water at Deception Pass, three times a week.
- Meditate for 20 minutes in the old-growth forest at Rockport, four days a week.
- 30 minutes of snowshoeing, three times a week at Lake Chelan.
Agencies, nonprofits and businesses that support Park Rx include Recreation Northwest, City of Chelan, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, Chelan County PUD Parks and Recreation, Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Washington State Department of Health, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Chelan-area Safeway pharmacies.
Are you ready to help get Washingtonians healthy? Then sign up with Park RX today, and start prescribing parks for a healthier Washington.
Health provider sign up
Check out the video below to see how easy it is to sign up for Park Rx and prescribe parks to patients.
For additional questions or information, please email or call (360) 902-8559.
Want to self prescribe but need some ideas of what activities you can do in parks? Then order our Park Rx Z-CARD® pocket calendar. It features a whole year’s worth of fun outdoor recreation ideas. Call (360) 902-8844. Online viewable Z-CARD®