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Seasonal Alterations in Park Visitation, Amenity Use, and Physical Activity — Grand Forks, North Dakota, 2012–2013
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  • Description:
    Introduction

    Park amenities promote visitation and physical activity during summer. Physical activity declines during winter. Identifying park amenities that promote visitation during winter would increase year-round activity. The purpose of this study was to determine how park visitation, amenity choice, and physical activity intensity change across seasons.

    Methods

    Physical activity intensity of children and adults was assessed at 16 parks in Grand Forks, North Dakota, during summer and fall of 2012, and winter and spring of 2013.

    Results

    Park visitation was highest in spring and lowest in winter. Amenity use varied by season. Parks with water splash pads were visited more during summer, and playgrounds and open spaces were visited more during spring. Ice rinks were visited most in winter. Physical activity intensity was lowest in summer and highest in winter for each age group. The activity intensity observed for all young age groups ranged from 2.7 to 2.9 metabolic equivalents in summer and greater than 3 metabolic equivalents in all other seasons. Adults’ mean activity intensity was greater than 3 metabolic equivalents in winter.

    Conclusion

    Information on park visitation, amenity use, and activity intensity across seasons is valuable; it can be used when designing or redesigning parks in order to promote year-round physical activity. Redesigning parks in cold climates to include ice rinks, sledding hills, cross-country skiing, and indoor areas for physical activity would increase winter visitation and allow the park to serve as a year-round resource for physical activity.

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