Improve Health with Outdoor Recreation in Pennsylvania’s Parks and Forests

health videosImage via Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation

CAMP HILL, PA — Improving health and well-being can be as simple as getting outdoors to enjoy Pennsylvania’s parks and forests. The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation recently completed a video series on the health benefits of outdoor recreation to inspire healthy active lifestyles and a connection with nature.

With 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forest, and over 11,000 miles of trails, Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests offer a lot of opportunity and free access to the outdoors. There is a state park within 25 miles of nearly every Pennsylvanian with a number of options for outdoor recreation include hiking, biking, canoeing, rafting, skiing, simply taking a walk in the woods, and much more. Activities such as these have proven major benefits for human health and wellness due to their ability to clear the mind, engage our senses, and get our bodies moving.

These health benefits are further detailed in PPFF’s full-length video, “Health Benefits and Outdoor Recreation”, created with funding assistance from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Community Conservation Partnership Program. The information is also available in smaller 36-second segments focused on the individual topic areas of physical, mental, and emotional health. All of the videos, created by Uproot Creative Services, LLC, can be found on PPFF’s YouTube channel.

“The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation believes an important role that our parks and forests play is protecting and improving human health. These videos support that belief and provide motivation for stepping outside one’s doorstep,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Foundation. “We are thankful for the medical professionals and researchers who shared their knowledge to create these videos.”

Featured are a number of health professionals and outdoors experts including Dr. Michael Suk, Chief Physician Officer with Geisinger System Services, the common voice throughout the series. Dr. Suk explains that even the simple act of taking a walk outside can have real health benefits. The value of a walk in the woods is further enforced by Licensed Forest Therapy Guide Michele Burton. Among those interviewed is Gail Witwer, Director of Health Promotion at the Partnership for Better Health, who shared that the majority of surveyed Pennsylvanians believe the state’s parks and forests are an essential part of the healthcare system. The health benefits of outdoor recreation are well-documented and Dr. Matt Silvis, Sports Medicine Physician with Penn State Health, adds that outdoor exercise has the ability to prevent ailments and disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers, and can slow the effects of aging.

To view the videos and learn more about these many health benefits, visit PPFF’s YouTube channel at The videos will also be shared on PPFF’s social media channels.

A Spanish language version of the video will be uploaded by the end of December.

“Spending time in the outdoors is something we need at any age”, Mowery continues, “and we encourage the sharing of the videos at schools, as part of corporate wellness programs, and among friends and family.”

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News.