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Doctor’s orders: A walk in the park “National ParkRX Day”

Gates Mondovics of Mountain City Tennessee takes a break while walking a trail in nearby park. Tennessee Department of Health is promoting the outdoors to help improve the health of Tennesseans. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

Healthy Parks Healthy Person Tennessee, an initiative of Tennessee State Parks with support from the Tennessee Department of Health, works with healthcare providers to promote the outdoors as a means of improving the health of Tennesseans. All are invited to celebrate National ParkRx Day on Sunday, April 29.

“Our Tennessee State Parks are some of the best in the country and wonderful places to be mindful of ourselves, our loved ones and the creation that surrounds us,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Turning off or ignoring our electronic devices and being outdoors to tune into the conversations of nature all around us can greatly improve our well-being, so get out and have some nature!”

The Parks Prescription program, a component of Healthy Parks Healthy Person Tennessee, is a way for nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals to assess physical activity of their patients, counsel patients on the importance of physical activity and prescribe outdoor activity as part of their health or treatment plans. The park prescriptions come as a tear-off pad, just like regular prescriptions, and patients can use the web-based phone application to log outdoor experiences to earn rewards at Tennessee State Parks.

National ParkRx Day is celebrated across the United States to promote the growing movement of prescribing time spent in parks and nature to improve health. National ParkRx Day encourages everyone to start seeing visits to parks and public lands as significant parts of their health. In 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General released a call to action to promote walking. National ParkRx Day builds on this call to action.

Tennesseans are encouraged to:
· Go to a local park, greenway or Tennessee State Park
· Work in the yard
· Take their children to a neighborhood playground
· Go boating or fishing
For more information about Healthy Parks Healthy Person Tennessee, go to