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Prescriptions for Recreation instead of Medication?

What would happen if your Doctor prescribed recreation instead of medication the next time you went in for a physical? That is precisely what Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation Program is anticipating will happen. At the recent American Society of Aging national conference in Chicago, Illinois, Lifelong Recreation staff members were invited to present Bridging the Gap Between Recreation and Healthcare to more than fifty leaders working with the aging population across the U.S.

Lifelong Recreation Manager, Brenda Kramer said: “Recreation needs to have a voice in the story of disease prevention and healing. Research shows that staying active with fitness, arts and learning produces health benefits including disease prevention, improved mental capacity and increased well-being. When medical professionals give prescriptions for recreation and activity, medical costs decrease and we all benefit.”

Lifelong Recreation currently partners with healthcare-based programs across the Northwest. Pedaling for Parkinson’s, a University of Washington Outdoors for All program, led by Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, offers eight weeks of free exercise with a medical referral.  Enhance Fitness, a program developed by Senior Services of Seattle and offered in Lifelong Recreation Community Centers across the city, partners with the University of Washington and Kaiser Permanente to offer state-of-the-art community health programs for older adults.  Studies have shown a 72% decrease in hospital days, 35% decrease in use of psychoactive drugs and 11% decrease in depressive symptoms for participants as well as 35% improvement in physical function. (source:

“Lifelong Recreation is also well known for offering Dementia Friendly, Outdoors, Arts, Fitness, Adventure and Social opportunities for people ages 50+ throughout Seattle,” said Kramer. “We were honored to be given the opportunity to share about bridging the gap between recreation and healthcare at the ASA conference. As the need continues to have evidence-based programs in recreation, the importance of partnering with medical professionals becomes increasingly significant.  We hear frequent testimonials from Lifelong Recreation attendees who are experiencing better health, more active lifestyles and social benefits from classes.  This is good news for both the medical community and for the recreational programs we offer.”

Click here for more information about Lifelong Recreation.