“Exercise is key to health, and studies have shown that people are much more likely to exercise if parks and opportunities for recreation are nearby,” writes the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in their latest issue of Land & People. For TPL and many other community-focused organizations, the interconnected issues of physical health, getting outdoors and connecting kids to the outdoors, are becoming paramount to their work. These issues are relevant for the land conservation-focused TPL, health organizations like Kaiser Permanente and funders like the Stewardship Council in California. TPL in fact received funding from Kaiser Permanente to build what they call “Fitness Zones” in Los Angeles, particularly in densely populated low income East Los Angeles neighborhoods where obesity is high.
Another organization focused on getting youth outside believes “[c]hildren are smarter, cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors.” As such, the Children & Nature Network, chaired by Last Child in the Woods author Richard Louv, compiled two annotated bibliographies to research that will tell you just how much kids are not getting outdoors, the consequences and the most promising solutions.