Park and Thrive Initiative
Everyone can benefit from a park that has outdoor fitness equipment. The North Bergen Health Department was extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to implement such concept. This park is so eye-catching because it attracts residents from not only North Bergen but surrounding towns such as Union City, Guttenberg, and West New York. The reason why it always catches everyone’s attention is because of how detailed and colorful it is. In addition to the success of this park, the Health Department is in the process of planning a monthly farmers market.
Residents were interviewed about the park and its’ benefits in terms of health and wellness. The community has stated that exercising has become fun for them. Nature and fresh air has had a positive influence and makes exercise effective. The park is eco-friendly because it does not require electricity and does not require maintenance. Community members have stated that they had the opportunity to network with different people and make new friendships. There are many indoor gyms around town. These gyms can be costly and inconvenient to some people. This outdoor gym is free and available to all residents. Interviewees’ have illustrated that outdoor exercise was more restorative in comparison to indoor exercise because the outdoor environment reduces emotional and physiological stress. Regular physical activity is vital to enhance one’s personal wellbeing.
Having taken the leap towards this “Park & Thrive” initiative has increased the number of satisfied community members exponentially. With this concept in mind, residents can not only enhance their health by fitness but also increase mindfulness. Studies show that outdoor exercise provides physical benefits such as blood flow, improved cardiovascular health, improved strength, flexibility, endurance, and it provides exposure to sunlight which increases the levels of vitamin D. Outdoor exercise, sunlight, and sensory stimulation has encouraged healthy behaviors among the residents in North Bergen. These healthy habits consist of eating healthy and exercising more often.
About the Grantee
The North Bergen Health Department's mission is to improve the quality of life for our residents by offering a wide array of services that target health prevention, health promotion, public health, safety and code enforcement.
Cohort: North 4
Funder: New Jersey Health Initiatives
Cities: North Bergen