Rx for Fitness: Where Fitness is a Walk in the Park

Everyone knows that exercise is one key to being healthy, but not everyone enjoys going to the gym. Georgia’s State Park system has teamed up with the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA) to make healthy living a bit more fun.

Through the new “Rx for Fitness” Program, physician assistants can prescribe healthy hikes in the great outdoors, and patients can turn in their “prescriptions” for FREE state park passes.

“Rx for Fitness” is part of the State Park system’s new Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge which encourages citizens to use outdoor recreation as part of their regular exercise. Park visitors may find that exploring a canyon is more fun than a step machine, and that hiking along a waterfall burns more calories than a treadmill.

Georgia State Parks also offer less traditional exercise, like lake swimming, geocaching, and disc golf. Even some state historic sites offer walking trails in beautiful settings.

Members of GAPA will be able to help their patients in a new way, by identifying those who need more exercise and suggesting they go for a hike. By trading their “prescription” for a FREE park pass, patients will not need to pay the $5 parking fee on their first visit.

Those who decide that regular hikes can help them meet weight-loss goals can choose to buy an Annual ParkPass. The 2012 Annual Georgia ParkPass is currently available for $50.

“We are so excited to offer a new and unique way of showcasing the benefits of outdoor recreation,” said State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “When exercise is fun, people tend to stick with it for much longer. It becomes part of their daily lives, and they have a better sense of wellbeing. Another benefit of visiting state parks is being able to bring your friends and family along with you.”

“Rx for Fitness” launched February 2 at the GAPA winter meeting. It is funded by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

“Rx for Fitness is a creative way to give more kids and families access to healthy outdoor activities,” said John Bare, vice president of the Blank Family Foundation. “Better fitness is a walk in the park.”


Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

Georgia’s 63 state parks and historic sites preserve the state’s environment and history. Through these sites, Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks & Historic Sites provides important habitat for plants and animals, gives people a place to enjoy the outdoors, and protects historic places where future generations can learn about the past.

Phone: (800) 864-7275 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Website: georgiastateparks.org

Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge

Nature has always held the key to fitness, through exercise and nutrition. Georgia State Parks has added personalized technology to make it even easier. Once you’ve joined FREE, you can customize your entire fitness program by setting your own goals and level of support. You can start by signing up for news about upcoming events, healthy recipes, and local groups. If you’re ready to commit to more of a change, select the journal, which will allow you to keep a daily diary, log your weight, track your activity, and record your meals.

Website: tonsoffun.org

Rx for Fitness

Through the new “Rx for Fitness” Program, physician assistants can prescribe healthy hikes in the great outdoors, and patients can turn in their “prescriptions” for free park passes.

Website: tonsoffun.org/Rxercise

Worth Pondering…

Georgia On My Mind

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

Georgia, Georgia, a song of you

Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines

—words by Stuart Gorrell and music by Hoagy Carmichael

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