Recreation facilities are a vital part of a healthy community. With the societal shift from a rural lifestyle to living in sprawling urban centres, we have become more reliant on motor vehicles for transportation and, as a result, physical activity rates have plummeted.
This, along with a dietary changes, has contributed to record levels of obesity. According to the 2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey, more than one in three adults in Canada are obese, and may require medical support as a result.
On top of the impact to physical health, local recreation centres can increase property values, foster job creation and provide a foundation for economic development that remains within the community – an important factor for a city like Airdrie, with Calgary so close by.
Participation in recreation activities is also linked to better stress management, treating depression and improving mood. It allows parents to model healthy lifestyle techniques to children, who will benefit from these lessons throughout their lives.
The key to unlocking these benefits is access.
In Airdrie, the City is actively working to address recreation needs (see stories on page X and X). We hope significant effort is made to make leisure activity available to everyone, include those below the poverty line. Research indicates income levels are directly related to participation in physical exercise, and for children in low-income families, park and recreation facilities may be the only place for physical activity outside of school.
Considering the significant impact of leisure and recreation, isn’t it something every resident should be able to take part in?