New Poll: Americans Turn to Parks and Rec to Cope with the ‘Winter Blues’

(January 9, 2018)

Top activities include spending time with friends/family and staying active indoors/outdoors

Ashburn, Va. (Jan. 9, 2018) — Depending on where you live, finding a way to cope with the “winter blues” can be difficult. That’s why, according to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more and more Americans are turning to their local parks and rec centers to stave off the winter blues. Among the 80 percent of Americans that plan to do something to cope with the winter blues this season:

  • 44 percent plan to surround themselves with family and friends, such as at a local park or rec center
  • 32 percent plan to stay active by exercising indoors, such as at a gym, local rec center or through indoor sports
  • 25 percent plan to go outdoors for leisure or to stay active, such as at a local park or trail
  • 16 percent plan to pick up a new hobby or take a class, such as at a local rec center

Overall, parents (88 percent) are significantly more likely to do something to cope with the winter blues as opposed to non-parents (76 percent).

“The benefits of parks go beyond promoting good physical health,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “Parks provide mental health benefits, as well, through the use of green space and nature-based activities that foster a sense of community.”

Living close to parks and other recreation facilities is consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youth. Moreover, parks provide a connection to nature, which studies demonstrate relieves stress levels, tightens interpersonal relationships and improves mental health. To learn more about the health benefits of parks, click here.

Kick away the winter blues with parks and recreation with these tips

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit   

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit