• Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

    Indiana Dunes

    National Lakeshore Indiana

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AND PORTER HEALTH SYSTEM LAUNCH PARK PRESCRIPTION PROGRAM AT INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE

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Date: April 12, 2011

Celebrate National Park Week and find the healing power of nature in your neighborhood national park. April 21 at 11:00 a.m., join us at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore where the National Park Service and Porter Health System will launch "Park Prescriptions," a get healthy program.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is leading the way for the Healthy Parks Healthy People movement. The healing power of nature is well known to many park visitors. Teaming with Porter Health System, the National Park Service is working with health care providers to encourage patients to get healthy using the great outdoors as a tool. Under this program, health care professionals actually write prescriptions for their patients to take a walk, bicycle, paddle, or otherwise use Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a place for health and physical fitness. Patients may be those recovering from surgery, managing their diabetes, or just maintaining a healthy life.

Studies have shown that people who engage in exercise outdoors benefit both mentally and physically. People who exercise in the outdoors, particularly urban dweller, can reduce stress, improve productivity, boost immunity, and generally feel better.

"We are proud to be the first national park in the country to launch this program and pleased to be a partner with Porter Health System in doing so," said Indiana Dunes superintendent Costa Dillon. "Eventually, we hope to widen this program to more health care providers in the region and to other parks."

The opening ceremonies are April 21 at 11:00a.m. at the Calumet Dune Trail at the corner of U.S. Highway 12 and Kemil Road in Beverly Shores, Indiana. National Park Service staff and members of Porter Health System will introduce the prescription trails and describe the workings of this program. Health care professionals, patients, and students from the Discovery Charter School will be on hand to demonstrate the value of Healthy Parks Healthy People. The five trails in the initial phase of this program are in various parts of the national lakeshore including in Hobart, Portage, Porter, Pine Township, and Beverly Shores. There is no fee charged for use of any of these areas. ArcelorMittal, with more than 10,000 employees in the Northwest Indiana region and a strong commitment to health and safety, made a generous contribution to provide materials to the participants of this program and to install new benches on the trails.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 394 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year.

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