The Benefits of Recreation!
Outdoor Recreation Provides Benefits for Individuals With and Without Disabilities
Get Healthy, Make New Friends, and Have Fun
Spring is here. The weather is getting warmer, prompting many to go outside and be active. Outdoor recreation is fun, but there are also many great benefits! Studies show this, and we see it every day at Echoing Hills!
Here are five reasons to get outside and get active today.
Improve Physical Health
There are many benefits to your physical health when partaking in outdoor recreation. Sure, there is getting stronger, building muscle, and losing weight. However, there is more! Studies have shown physical activity can also lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, boost your immune system, and improve sleep.
“We struggled to recreate unity after coming back together after the COVID quarantine. So, we canceled regular classes every Tuesday and headed for the park. Spending the full day there allowed students to enjoy each other’s company while getting some sun and exercise. It fixed the problem! It brought us together, it was fun, and it impacted our physical health.” – Cori Kraft, Habilitation Coordinator at EchoingU of Northeast Ohio
Improve Mental Health
Getting outdoors is a great way to “clear your head.” Spending time in nature can help reduce stress, fight depression and anxiety, elevate your mood, and more!
“When Mitchell moved to the Starbuck home, he stayed to himself in his room or his quiet area. He would listen to music on his headphones or twirl his ribbon. After a few weeks of getting to know him better, we began exploring outdoor activities and events that Mitchell might like. He started swimming, volunteering at a farm, and helping with lawn care. These opportunities allowed him to become more physically active and learn to follow two-step instructions. He accepted the challenge of interacting with others socially and adjusting to respect other people’s time and space. Since Mitchell has become more active, we have noticed him talking more, sitting in living areas with peers, and engaging with staff. It has been such a joy to share in these adventures with him and watching him grow to his full potential while taking on more responsibility and integrating into community life.” – Camille Adams, House Manager at Community Living of Northern Ohio
Getting outside together can improve already existing relationships and create new ones too! One case study showed outdoor programming led to better relationships for everyone involved.
“What a difference a little outdoors can make! One of our Community Echo groups focuses on exploring and building relationships in their community. Because of this, they have benefited greatly from outdoor experiences recently. From connecting with new friends on trips together, hiking the Miamisburg Indian Mound, to getting some steps in along the banks of the RiverScape MetroPark, Michael, Lieza, Cortney, and Melanie have been having a blast! They have connected with each other and community partners, improved their interactions and communication skills, and enjoyed the healthy activities.” – Chris Setser, Program Director at EchoingU of Southwest Ohio
Discover or Deepen Hobbies and Interests
Outdoor recreation allows you to get out there and enjoy your hobbies and interests! It also allows you to learn about new things you may have never thought to enjoy before! Swimming, fishing, hiking, biking – the list of ideas is endless!
“Many of the individuals we serve love being outdoors.
Getting outside is scientifically proven to help with depression and anxiety, so it is something we try to do regularly! It is amazing to watch the change in moods by taking a simple walk around campus or going for a ride on the golf cart. One of the individuals we serve, Jeff, loves to fish. He spends the warmer months fishing at the lower pond and transferring the fish to the upper pond. He does this so those who use a wheelchair have a higher chance of catching a fish. It brings Jeff great joy doing this, and he really enjoys talking about the type of fish in our ponds.” – Jackie Householder, Program Director at Community Living of Central Ohio
Enjoy God’s Beauty
Being outside allows you to witness God’s wonder all around. Seeing a sunrise or sunset, listening to birds and wildlife, and feeling the grass on your feet and wind on your face only enhances outdoor activity.
“We recently attended the Southeast Ohio Walk and Roll-a-Thon. We walked and rolled along an outdoor trail complete with ponds, lakes, and the sound of birds. The event afforded an excellent opportunity for the individuals we serve from various homes to socialize with one another and others in our greater community. I saw their faces beaming with smiles as they walked with various DSPs.” – Solomon Fordjour, DSP at Community Living of Southeast Ohio