Healthy Parks Healthy People
A “Park Prescription” for Better Health
What’s a “Park Prescription?”
Imagine getting a written prescription to take a walk, bicycle, or kayak in a national park. That’s exactly what a “park prescription” is. Your health care providers prescribe contact with nature for various health conditions and encourage you to take advantage of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a great regional health resource.
Enjoying the outdoors is just what your health care provider ordered.
Whether taking a vigorous hike or a gentle stroll in the park, getting back to nature can improve your physical health, as well as emotional and mental wellbeing.
Here are some of the best health reasons to move your exercise outdoors:
Fresh air exercise:
• reduces stress
• improves brain function and instills a sense of well-being
• improves your vitamin D on sunny days
• reduces obesity
• helps lower blood pressure
• helps manage diabetes
• lowers risks for heart disease and other chronic diseases
Ask your health care provider for a Park Prescription today.
Unplug and reconnect with nature’s power.
Our lives are filled with hours parked in front of televisions or using electronic devices. Prolonged sitting can lead to increased weight and reduced circulation, which may lead to all sorts of health issues.
Unplug from the fast pace of technology and enjoy the healing and rejuvenating power of nature. Reconnecting with nature is a great time to reconnect with friends and family. Invite a friend to join you on a stroll or take your kids for a bike ride. “Fido” already knows the power of outdoor fun and will be happy to help you get started.
It’s free, easy and fun!
You never get bored with the ever changing natural world. Each day can be a new outdoor adventure, helping you honor your daily exercise commitment.
The variety of activities is virtually endless: bicycling, walking, kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, swimming, snowshoeing, you name it. Best of all, it’s free at the national lakeshore (other than parking at West Beach in the summer).
How it works
Health care professionals work with the park to identify trails and activities that are appropriate for patient care.
Your health care provider will write a prescription that is tailored for your personal needs. Following that prescription, you will use some portion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for improving your health and wellness and work with your health care provider to track your progress. All health information is confidential between you and the health provider and no patient information is collected or provided to the National Park Service.
Get back into nature. It’s all around you.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located in 15 cities and towns and three counties of Northwest Indiana. There is probably a part of the park near you. The five Park Prescription trails mentioned below are part of over 40 miles of park trails.
To learn more about connecting with urban parks please visit the InsideNPS web site.
As a leader in healthcare in Northwest Indiana, Porter Health System is dedicated to medical excellence and patient centered care. With two hospitals, seven outpatient locations, and 350 physicians, Porter serves individuals in Porter, Lake, Jasper, LaPorte, Newton and Starke counties.
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. The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
Thanks for the generous support of Arcelor Mittal.
The U.S. Government does not endorse private companies, products, or services. The National Park Service gratefully acknowledges the contributions of our partners to the Park Prescription program.
Last updated: January 5, 2018
1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.