Who Run the Parks?

Stephanie YeldellNPF Blog
Hiker in Yellowstone National Park near Pleasant Valley.
Yellowstone National Park – Jacob W. Frank/NPS

Each summer, visitors old and new hit the road and take to the skies to visit our country’s public lands. Many travel to America’s national parks for their awe-inspiring views and storied histories, but did you know these treasured spaces are also great resources for everyday fitness? And with more than 400 national parks across the country, chances are there’s one closer than you think.

As Americans spend more and more time inside, the importance of outdoor exercise becomes increasingly apparent. Health benefits include links to increased energy, overall enjoyment during physical activity, and greater reported intentions to work out again. This summer, one easy way to explore national parks is to exercise by walking or jogging them – no equipment necessary.

The National Park Foundation works with partners to promote healthy living by getting people of all ages, and in all communities, outside in their national parks.

This month Apple is celebrating national parks, and all the benefits they can provide, with an Apple Pay donation program and Apple Watch Activity Challenge. From August 24 through 31, 2018, Apple is donating $1 to the National Park Foundation for every purchase made with Apple Pay at any Apple Store, on apple.com or through the Apple Store app in the US.

On September 1, 2018, Apple Watch users who complete a walk, run or wheelchair workout of 50 minutes or more will earn an Activity app award and stickers for Messages inspired by national parks. The 50 minutes pays homage to Redwood National Park’s 50th anniversary celebration this year.

Whether you are looking to maintain your exercise regimen on your summer vacation or mix it up during the work week, national parks are a great setting for your fitness routine. Many parks even host community fitness activities you can be a part of, including these upcoming events:

Greenbelt Park

Deer in dense forest of Greenbelt Park, Maryland
National Park Service

Whether you’re a novice walker or a seasoned runner, meet and exercise with the members of Greenbelt Park Walking Club (and the local wildlife) on Sunday mornings at Greenbelt Park in Maryland.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Hikers on the Bumpass Hell boardwalk at Lassen Volcanic National Park
National Park Service

Step outside of your usual routine and join a ranger led hike up to Paradise Meadows, exploring geologic and natural history of the area at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California on Sunday, August 26, 2018.

Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island National Seashore by Stan Dzugan/Share the Experience Photo Contest
Stan Dzugan/Share the Experience Photo Contest

On Wednesday, August 29, 2018, make your weekday workout a walk from the bay to the beach with a park ranger at beautiful Watch Hill. Explore, discover, and enjoy Fire Island National Seashore’s varied maritime habitats during the cross-island tour.

So, take advantage of the end of summer to #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque. Skip the treadmill, soak up the sun, and get active outside in your national parks to support these incredible places Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

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