The National Benefits Hub

Research that Supports Recreation

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The Benefit Messages

The Hub is intended to help the fields of Recreation/Sport/Fitness/Active Living, Arts, Culture/Heritage, Parks/Greenspace focus on outcomes that matter to their work. It takes the best research available and then shows what our work can do for individuals, ‘families’, communities, economies, and the environment.

The Hub has packaged the research to support 50 benefit or outcome statements.

These 50 outcome statements are structured around one overall marketing message and eight key marketing messages as follows:




  1. Recreation, Sport, Arts, Culture and parks are ESSENTIAL TO PERSONAL HEALTH - Active Living is a key determinant of health status.
  2. Recreation, Sport, Arts, Culture and Parks are all key to balanced HUMAN DEVELOPMENT - helping Canadians reach for their potential.
  3. Recreation, Fitness, Sport, Arts, Culture and Parks/Greenspace are essential to QUALITY OF LIFE AND PLACE.
  4. Recreation, Sport, Arts and Outdoor Pursuits reduce self-destructive and ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR.
  5. Recreation, Sport, Arts, Culture and parks build STRONG FAMILIES and HEALTHY COMMUNITIES.
  6. PAY NOW or PAY MORE LATER! Recreation,Sport, Arts, Culture and Parks reduce health care, social service, and police/justice costs!
  7. Recreation, Sport, Art, Culture and Parks are significant ECONOMIC GENERATORS in your community!
  8. Parks, open spaces, and natural areas are 'Greenspace' essential to WELL BEING and our ENVIRONMENTAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL SURVIVAL.

The intent of maintaining this same structure from the 1997 catalogue around the original marketing messages and outcome statements is to provide the field a consistent framework, focus and common language.

The current version of the Hub builds on the documentation with 5 new benefits or outcome statements and has gathered a vast amount of new evidence that backs the previous statements. This should give all practitioners the confidence to speak out and advocate for the importance of this work. Packaging the material within these previously articulated and tested sections also helps support work with allies in related fields such as health and social services, and makes it easier to share the information and build bridges with potential community partners.

Ultimately, the purpose of this Hub is to provide a quality resource that can be used as a catalyst for discussions and change - to help reposition, promote, and provide programs and services that truly are essential.

50 Outcome Statements


Personal Health

1.01 Recreation helps extend life expectancy. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.02 Recreation can prolong independent living for seniors by reducing disease and impairment. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.03 Recreation helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke – the leading cause of death in Canada. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.04 Recreation combats osteoporosis. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.05 Recreation combats diabetes. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.06 Recreation helps prevent and treat site-specific cancers – especially in the colon, breast, and lungs. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.07 Recreation helps prevent arthritis & rehabilitate back problems. (active living, fitness, sport)

1.08 Leisure activities and parks contribute to mental health  and well-being – reducing stress and depression.  (recreation, fitness, sport, active living, arts, culture, parks, and greenspace/infrastructure)

1.09 Leisure activities and parks enhance overall physical and emotional health and improve quality of life. (recreation, fitness, sport, active living, arts, culture, parks, greenspace/infrastructure)

1.10 Leisure activities and parks are proven therapeutic tools used to maintain and/or restore physical, mental, and social capacities. (recreation, fitness, arts, culture, parks, and greenspace)

1.11 Recreation, fitness, sport, active living, and parks reduce obesity resulting in many health benefits.

Human Development

2.01 Leisure activities and parks are essential to the holistic development of children and youth:

  •     they learn motor skills (physical) through play and sport
  •     they gain physical fitness and enhance overall health/well-being

2.02 Leisure activities provide opportunities for adults to develop their full and holistic potential (physical, social, creative, intellectual, and spiritual). (recreation, sport, arts, culture)

2.03 Recreation, sport, arts and leisure contribute to academic success and provide  exceptional opportunities for life-long learning.

2.04 Parks, green space, and natural environments provide a spiritual space and experience.

Quality of Life

3.01 Leisure activities build self-esteem and positive self-image – foundations to personal quality of life. (recreation, sport, arts and culture).

3.02 Leisure activities and parks enhance personal life satisfaction. (recreation, fitness, sport, arts, culture, parks, and greenspace)

3.03 Leisure activities and parks enhance perceived/actual quality of life and place for individuals, families, and communities. (recreation, sport, arts, culture, parks and greenspace)

3.04 Leisure activities nurture growth, acquisition of life skills, and independent living for those with a disability. (recreation, sport, arts and culture)

Anti-social Behaviour

4.01 Leisure activities reduce self-destructive behaviour in youth by serving as an antidote to smoking, substance abuse, suicide, and depression. (recreation, sports, arts, culture)

4.02 Leisure activities help reduce incidence  of crime – particularly among youth. (recreation, sport, arts, culture)

4.03 Leisure activities can reduce racism and build understanding between diverse cultures. (recreation, sport, arts, culture)

4.04 Leisure activities can reduce isolation, loneliness, and alienation. (recreation, sport, arts, culture)


5.01 Families and couples that share play and leisure are more  likely to stay together.

5.02 After school leisure programs provide safe, developmental opportunities for children and youth. (recreation, sport, arts)

5.03 Leisure activities develop community leaders. (recreation, sport, arts, culture)

5.04 Leisure activities build social skills and stimulate participation in community life. (recreation, sport, arts, culture, parks)

5.05 Leisure activities and parks are often catalysts that build strong, self-sufficient, and sustainable communities. (recreation, sport, arts, culture)

5.06 Arts and culture help people understand their neighbours, community, history, and environment.

5.07 Recreation, parks, sport, arts, and culture build pride in a community, province or country.

5.08 Recreation, sport, arts, culture, and parks all build a sense of belonging within a community.

5.09 Recreation opportunities allow residents to understand and build upon cultural differences (recreation, sport, arts, culture).

5.10 Leisure activities allow us to come together and explore different forms of both families and communities.


6.01 Fitness and well-being reduce the incidence and severity of illness and disability – lowering healthcare costs

6.02 Leisure activities contribute to stronger families – reducing social service costs. (recreation, arts, culture)


7.01 Recreation, sport, and fitness improve work performance by increasing  productivity, and decreasing absenteeism, staff turnover, and  accidents.

7.02 Leisure programs, services, and parks contribute to economic development by attracting business to communities. (recreation, sport, arts, culture, outdoor/environmental)

7.03 Leisure programs, services, and parks draw tourism and contribute to local economies. (recreation, sport, arts, culture, outdoor/environmental)

7.04 Recreation, fitness, sport, arts, culture, parks, and open spaces are significant employment generators.

7.05 Small investments in recreation, sport, arts, culture, and parks often yield large economic returns from events, capital development, and ongoing services.

7.06 Parks and open spaces increase property value and tax revenue on adjacent land, and are often used as marketing features by developers.

7.07 Parks and open spaces are excellent storm water retention strategies and less expensive then sewer expansion.

7.08 Leisure programs and green spaces increase  tax revenue for all levels of government and potential income for non-profits and private business. (recreation, sport, arts, culture)


8.01 Green space protects habitat, biodiversity, and environmental integrity.

8.02 Green space improves air quality by removing pollutants from the air.

8.03 Outdoor recreation, green space, and natural areas are essential to environmental education and personal well-being – a key to long term sustainability overall.

8.04 Protecting land from development (as open space) mitigates against potential environmental disaster and contributes to quality of life.

8.05 Trails and pathways encourage healthy lifestyles, save energy, and protect air quality by encouraging non-motorized transportation.

8.06 Arts, culture, and parks programs express the spirituality of the land and encourage stewardship ethics.

8.07 Parks, trails, and natural areas are essential to overall good health, quality of life and well-being.


Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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