Editor’s note: The following Q&A is one of several featured in this week’s Wellness, Part 1 issue. Additional Q&As will appear in next week’s Wellness, Part 2 issue.
Wayne Simmons is the program and operations manager for Asheville Parks & Recreation. He speaks with Xpress about health and wellness programs that the city offers, the benefits of physical activity and his favorite ways to stay in shape.
How does physical health factor into Asheville Parks & Recreation’s program planning?
Health and wellness plays a major role within the programming that the Parks & Recreation department offers. Examples of current programs that provide physical health benefits include the Fit 50 Challenge, free fitness center memberships, youth and adult sports leagues, hiking and rock climbing programs. We also focus on other factors that impact physical health by providing healthy foods and nutrition education as part of other programs such as our after-school and summer camp programs.
If you could relay one message to area parents about the importance of outdoor recreation for kids, what would it be?
Participation in both organized and self-directed outdoor recreational activities have been well documented to provide a variety of important health and wellness benefits including higher academic performance, reduced stress levels, increased social interaction and improved motor coordination. The Parks & Recreation department offers many opportunities for kids to enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities through our various parks and programs, and we would love to have community members join us.
What is your favorite way to approach your own physical health?
We are fortunate to have an abundance of recreational opportunities available here in Western North Carolina. Taking a jog along our expansive trail system or visiting one of our local parks to join a pickup game of any number of sports is a personal favorite of mine.