Ensuring that outdoor recreation is placed at the heart of society is Outdoor Recreation NI’s number one priority moving forward.
I recently enjoyed a paper by Dr James Brown, School of Life and Helath Sciences, Aston University, who, in adressing the British Science Festival, suprised the audience by offering a ‘magic pill’ that was able to prevent obesity and diabetes, lower the risk of some cancers, relieve depression and anxiety, increase mobility and reduce the chances of hip fracture by 40 percent. It also improved the ability to think and reason, slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, cut arthritic pain by 50 percent, boosted energy levels, reduced fatigue and led to a 23 percent lower risk of dying. The ‘pill’ was simply walking for 30 minutes a day. Encouraging active outdoor recreation participation for health reasons shuld not therefore be underestimated.
In addition to supporting ‘healthy living’, it is recognised that outdoor recreation helps young people’s personal and social development, encourages communities to utilise their local outdoor space which in turn stimulates care for and commitment to its upkeep, and through activity tourism contributes to the growth of Northern Ireland’s economy.
Harnessing the, as yet untapped wealth of opportunity potential across Northern Ireland by developing new partnerships with key stakeholders and by progressing new initiatives while remaining focused on those which have been sucessful in the past, will further contribute to the many postive spin-offs which clearly relate to engaging in outdoor recreation.
With this in mind, it is key as always that Outdoor Recreation NI as a strategic leader identifies its priorities for development within the context of its vision and mission statement for the next five years 2015 – 2020.