The Cullman Parks and Recreation Department has made a commitment to make Health & Wellness a priority in the City of Cullman and surrounding communities. Obesity and overall wellness of the nation are at an all-time low. Alabama now has the second highest adult obesity rate in the nation. According to the most recent studies the current obesity rate in the state of Alabama is 35.6 percent, up from 22.6 percent in 2000, and up from 11.2 percent in 1990. Obesity truly is an epidemic that is effecting overall quality of life in the state of Alabama, and our organization hopes to motivate in inspire the community to get out and live! The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) believe that “the nation’s public parks and recreation are leaders in improving the overall health and wellness of the nation”. Our organization is proud to have accessible indoor facilities, outdoor facilities, and heath and wellness programming for all members of the community.
The Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center (CWAC), our largest facility, offers over 50 fitness classes per week, as well as, access to cardiovascular training equipment, resistance training machines, free weights, indoor lap swimming, walking track, basketball, and volleyball courts! Community Wellness Day is also held at CWAC every January, and is the biggest health and wellness event in the area! Free fitness classes are offered for individuals ages 50 and older at the Donald E. Green Senior Center which has over 2,000 visitors per week! The senior center has exercise equipment and classes such as: yoga, line dancing, Wii bowling, light cardio, and stretching classes.
Our department offers the widest variety of youth activities and sports in the area at Heritage Park and the Field of Miracles. Youth baseball, softball, t-ball, flag football, basketball, volleyball, and lacrosse are just a few of the programs that we offer. We also offer summer camps and clinics centered around these activities to keep local youth healthy and active during the summer months! Heritage Park offers adult sports leagues year round for men and women! So, if a traditional gym class isn’t what you are looking for, we have adult sports leagues that could be the right fit for you! In an effort to create a healthier community, our parks and recreation organization plan to introduce healthier concession stand items in 2017. By giving recommendations of healthier options for athletes and spectators we hope to educate the community on small changes that can be made to create a healthier, well-balanced diet. Parks and recreation organizations are the where a large majority American youth receive their meals. Expanding our park menus and offering healthier options, in combination with physical activity, can lead to development of healthier lifestyles that will reduce risk of obesity and increase overall health of the community.
Studies show that individuals and families that live within 5 miles of a park or green space are more likely to physically active. Our organization is currently working to improve neighborhood and community parks with new play structures and equipment. Recent improvements in these small parks has created an overwhelming increase in park visitors of all ages who are getting out, and getting active! Free walking trails, disc golf courses, outdoor fitness equipment, dog park, and basketball courts are just a few things that make our parks stand out. We also have free hiking trails that are open to the public at Hurricane Creek Park and Duck River Reservoir. Both of these locations are open 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset. Together these two outdoor areas provide over 20 miles of advanced trails for the adventurous, and easier trails for the novice hikers.
In the last year, our organization has taken opportunities to reach out to the community on the subject of health and wellness through speaking to local schools and civic organizations. These speaking opportunities have allowed our parks and recreation program to promote AllFit and the Get Out and Live campaign (GOAL). AllFit serves as a basic educational program for what it means to be healthy in all areas of life. Nutrition education, physical education, grocery shopping and meal prepping are some of the topics discussed in this program to help increase overall knowledge of healthy living. GOAL is a community-wide campaign that encourages all individuals of all ages to get out and live. Whether it’s a class, sports program, or just a walk in the park; we want residents in the City of Cullman and surrounding communities to get out, get active, and live their best life!