Discover the Restorative Power of Parks

Marisa LangfordNPF Blog
A women and three children sitting on blanket in a field creating art with watercolor paints.
Family painting at Weir Farm National Historical Park - NPS Photo

National Park Week is a great time to celebrate our National Park System and the essential resources it provides. Every year, the National Park Foundation (NPF) and partners like GoGo squeeZ join together to encourage people to explore our national parks and discover their own way to help parks thrive.

But did you know parks can help you thrive, too? National parks are vital to our health and contribute to the quality of life in any community by offering social, economic, environmental, recreational, and mental health benefits. Park sites provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to improve their wellbeing, and often these places are right outside your door!

Need some inspiration? GoGo squeeZ and NPF have got you covered. We teamed up to share our favorite ways to experience the restorative power of parks.

The Best Present is Your Presence in a Park

A young girl dances with a woman on the dance floor

Visitors at the Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

NPS Photo / Rachel Hendrix

As society grows more dependent on technology and centered on urban living, we’re spending less time outdoors than ever before. A family visit to a park can be a great opportunity to encourage people of all ages to have fun and get healthy by spending time outdoors. Just five minutes spent walking in a nature is proven to improve mood, self-esteem, and relaxation. Especially for children, nature acts as a buffer for stress and can reduce cortisol levels. Parks are a great place to unplug and reconnect with your loved ones by simply being together and being present in those moments.

Plan for the Experience You Want

Young man looks up at a posted map. He wears a vest with many Jr Ranger badges

Junior Ranger exploring a map in Grand Teton National Park visitor center

NPS Photo / Tobiason

In order to truly be present in the moment, you need to plan ahead and prepare for the park experience you want. Nature is unpredictable, needs change, and your equipment can unexpectedly fail. Planning ahead is essential for a fun, safe, and healthy adventure. Visit the park’s website to pick the right activity for your group and confirm the essential items to pack. Nutrition is vital to a positive park experience—packing a healthy on-the-go snack like GoGo squeeZ Fruit & VeggieZ makes it easy to fuel your family adventure without slowing down or generating messy waste.

Model Healthy Relationships....with Nature

Two young park visitors sit on a stone wall and laugh

Visitors enjoying the great outdoors

GoGo squeeZ

Recent studies have found the average American child has only four to seven minutes of unstructured outdoor play each day, but spends more than seven hours staring at screens. Encouraging a love of nature is similar to many healthy habits—and adults can play a key role in setting a strong foundation for a lifelong love of the outdoors. Show children the diverse experiences and resources national parks have to offer, making sure everyone feels welcome and safe. This includes teaching a responsibility to be good stewards to ensure these treasured places continue to thrive for years to come.

With more than 400 national parks across the US, accessing the health, social, and physical benefits they provide is easier than you think. National Park Week is the perfect time to explore how parks can support a healthier lifestyle and make it a habit to get outside with loved ones.

Marisa Langford is a GoGo squeeZ employee, national park explorer, and mom to four.

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