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Can parks help lower health care costs? New efforts in Southeast Michigan say yes

This text is a part of Inside Our Outside, a sequence about Southeast Michigan’s related parks, greenways, and trails and the way they have an effect on residents’ high quality of life. It’s made doable with funding from the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.Getting outdoor has lengthy been linked to good well being, however current efforts throughout Southeast Michigan present that the area’s parks present main, measurable advantages to residents’ well-being.

The rising connection between the area’s parks and neighborhood well being has been “astounding,” particularly since last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, in accordance with Amy McMillan, director of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. McMillan factors to a recent economic study commissioned by the Metroparks and accomplished by The Trust for Public Land (TPL). Launched final October, the examine discovered that the 13-park system (serving Washtenaw, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, and Wayne counties) generates over $90 million yearly in financial advantages, and hundreds of thousands extra in environmental and well being advantages. 

An individual bikes at Lake St. Clair Metropark.
Upon measuring the well being care financial savings to residents who use the Metroparks, TPL decided that the Metroparks present $62.3 million yearly in recreation and well being advantages. Bodily exercise in Metroparks additionally reduces well being care prices: on common, adults save $1,250 per yr. For adults over the age of 64, the financial savings are even higher, at $2,500 per yr. 

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