This week is Love Parks Week (23rd of Jul to 1st of Aug). Parks are there for our enjoyment. They are a great place to socialise and are regularly used by the public. This can be for both leisure and sport as well as being a perfect place for families, with most parks having a children’s play area. Many parks cater for sports such as football, tennis and cricket with designated areas set out for each, some even have the luxury of club houses. In the run up to the Olympics coming to the UK in 2012, the government also created funding for outdoor gym equipment in parks, such as running machines, pull up bars, exercise bikes, sit up benches, and weight benches, using your own weight against you. Many parks in the UK still have and maintain this, free to use, equipment.
Parks are also large part of keeping our local eco systems thriving and are home to many birds and animals. Even parks within large towns and cities have a surprising number of animal visitors, from foxes, ducks, badgers, frogs, and squirrels to more exotic residents like parrots, terrapins, and wallabies (That’s right, parrots and wallabies!). You will find each park will have its own small eco system and families of wildlife.
They are a fantastic community resource, and many councils, small businesses and charities also use parks for community events, exercise sessions and relaxation. The average park in the UK serves around 2000 residents with some of the larger inner-city parks like Clapham Common, serving up to 46,000 residents, which is more than 20 times the average. It would probably surprise you that according to a survey (Swanwick, Dunnet and Wooley 2003), an astounding average of 13% of the UK population have never visited a park. That works out to an unbelievable estimate of around 8,865,404 out of 68.2 million people in the UK that have never stepped foot in a park. On the other hand, according to another study (CABE 2010), approximately 40% of the population use parks at least once a week.
Every park has been created for the benefit of the public so please make sure you use them and enjoy them for the wonderful green spaces they are. Take a stroll, have a picnic, play football with the lads, go cycling, walk the dog, join a boot camp, go nature spotting, and enjoy the scenery. They are great for both physical and mental health. See what is happening in your local park or why not contact your local council to find out what is happening in the parks in your area. Additionally, you can talk to an Everyone Health, Health Trainer or Physical Activity expert and they can help you to discover what is going on in the local parks in your area.