By Christian Bates-Hardy and Nancy Young
We asked Insightrix Research to find out from people across Saskatchewan what their level of agreement or disagreement was with these two statements:
Recreation plays a critical role in health and wellness, in a time when wellness has never been so important socially and economically.
Parks, which are a part of the recreation industry, play an important role in the physical and mental health of residents.
Insightrix Research surveyed a total of 800 people from the across the province, and here is what we learned.
A Critical Role in Health and Wellness
Overwhelmingly, people in Saskatchewan agreed that Recreation plays a critical role in their health and wellness, especially as the province begins to recover economically from the pandemic and people become readjusted to social activities that have been put on hold for so many months.
Of the 800 people surveyed, 730 agreed that Recreation plays a critical role in their health and wellness. Only 52 people disagreed. That’s a total of 91% respondents in agreement! Additionally, 62% of respondents (494) strongly agreed that recreation plays a critical role.
We also gave respondents the opportunity to tell us in their own words the role that recreation plays in their health and wellness. These respondents told us just how much they valued recreation in their lives, and what it has meant to them after living through the physical, social and mental challenges presented by the pandemic. In fact, between the two separate survey questions we received 1447 written comments expressing how much recreation and parks were valued!
Here are some examples of what we heard from this diverse sample of our province:
- “I work in recreation in a long-term care home. Recreation is vital to the wellbeing of our residents and it has never been more apparent than during this pandemic.”
- ‘Recreation is important especially right now with the stress levels caused by COVID-19. The best way to relieve the stress is by being active by doing things. It also helps to mitigate the feeling of isolation that many people have.”
- ‘It’s so easy these days to just stay inside and stick with the routine we’ve cultivated over the past 15 months — but getting out and involved in recreational activities will boost our moods and change how we have been seeing the world (literally and metaphorically). Our mental and physical health is so important these days and recreation plays a huge role.”
The Importance of Parks
When we asked respondents to tell us if they agree that Parks play an important role in the physical and mental health of Saskatchewan residents, we received another very strong level of agreement. 92% of respondents agreed. That's 733 out of 800 total survey respondents! Additionally, 59% of respondents strongly agreed.
You can see how the survey respondents' level of agreement is distributed by the graph below.
Respondents to our survey were also eager to tell us just how much parks contributed to their physical and mental health. Several of them in particular noted the mental health benefits of parks, and that how much they valued parks had changed because of the pandemic.
Here is a sample of what our survey respondents said about the importance of parks:
"Before the COVID-19 Pandemic I would never have felt the way I do now, but having been shut in off and on over the course of the last year, mental health has become a problem for many Canadians, so being able to go out and enjoy oneself is now more crucial than ever."
"We have been isolated for a long period with COVID and getting out for a walk or spending time in the garden is a great break. It gives you a chance to look at the scenery, listen to the birds, or see the changes in the garden as the flowers bloom and the trees leaf out. At the same time we are exercising our bodies and in the process boosting our feeling of well being."
"When so many things were shut down it was so great to get out of the house and enjoy the multi-use pathways and walk through the parks and natural areas in the city."
Insightrix’s OnTopic Omnibus survey included 800 respondents from across SK. 385 men, 413 women. 135 from the North, 169 from Regina, 191 from Saskatoon and 305 from the South. 273 had children in their household and 60 identified as indigenous. The majority had completed a degree or diploma. 48 respondents made less than $30,000 per year, 176 made more than $120,000, with the rest spread out relatively equally throughout the middle class.
For more information on this survey, please contact:
Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association
Information and Research Consultant
Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association