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Tennessee state parks offer rewards through Healthy Parks Healthy Person program

Foster Falls State Park in Marion County is one state park where you can take advantage of the new Health Parks Healthy Person program. (Image: Foster Falls State Park)

Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Department of Health say they have partnered to develop a web application called "Healthy Parks Healthy Person," which allows Tennesseans to log their activities at Tennessee State Parks in exchange for points that can be redeemed for rewards, according to spokesperson Eric Ward.

Some of the rewards from the new program include state park merchandise, golf rounds, free camping and cabin stays, Ward says.

The program also links healthcare providers and the parks through its "Park Prescription" feature, which encourages providers to introduce outdoor activity as part of healthcare regimen for patients, Ward says.

“Tennessee State Parks offer thousands of miles of walkways, trails and waterways for visitors to engage in healthy exercise at no cost,” says Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill. “The Healthy Parks Healthy Person program offers additional incentive for residents to engage in healthy activities at any of Tennessee’s 56 State Parks.”

You can log activities like hiking, biking, running, swimming, paddling and rock climbing on the program's mobile friendly site app.healthyparkstn.com. You can earn points at parks of any level: local, state and national. You can redeem your points at any Tennessee State Park, Ward says.

There's no cost to use the Healthy Parks Healthy Person app.

“We are excited to have a new way to encourage people in Tennessee to be active and enjoy our beautiful and award-winning Tennessee State Parks,” says Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our parks are wonderful restorative places for our bodies, minds and souls. Go for a walk down a beautiful trail, paddle a creek or enjoy any active fun in our great outdoors for great preventive medicine.”

Many public health organizations and studies have proven the benefits of outdoor exercise on mental and physical health, says the Tennessee Department of Health. The studies say people tend to engage in more strenuous and varied exercise outdoors than they do inside. Reports of significantly higher feelings of enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem when exercising outdoors in a natural setting were also found in the study.

So far, around 1000 people are using the new app, Ward says.

You can find more information about the app on the Tennessee State Park website.

Watch the video for the Healthy Parks Healthy Person program here.

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