City and School Recreation Partnerships

22 02 2019

As a result of constrained school and city budgets, more public-to-public partnerships are forming nationally. These partnerships look to share tax paid facilities and land to enhance educational and recreational resources for children. Thereafter parent committees and city board members often look to further expand those opportunities for the good of all.

“Several park and recreation departments already embrace partnerships with area schools, but if yours doesn’t, you should consider the benefits. These partnerships are usually easy to acquire as both partners are striving to benefit youth in the community. Once the partnership is established, the opportunities are endless. The largest benefit is the use of school facilities and space, but equipment and supply sharing, free marketing to potential participants and even volunteers from their parent-teacher organization are beneficial aspects.” []

To learn more about City of Tigard and Metzger School Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), visit the City of Tigard web page:]

Other public-to-public facility partnerships include indoor priority use arrangements. “There’s a need for recreation programs to be in school buildings and also for our programs to be in city facilities … The agreement gives school programs first priority for school facilities and city programs in city facilities. Both sides are to request facilities in advance to help with scheduling.” Wallner said. [Willmar Community Education and Recreation, MN]

Shared indoor facilities is one opportunity while recreation without walls is another. The “cost of land is one of the biggest costs that Columbia Parks and Rec would be facing,” Sessions said. “Those joint projects obviously make a much better opportunity to develop a playground for our students. In addition to that, it often means a park for our community … he said when the district has some land but not the financial means, it can partner with Parks and Rec to make that a reality. [Board of Education Member Jonathan Sessions, Columbia Public Schools District, MO]

When school districts are within city boundaries it makes sense for these two large tax funded organizations to form public-to-public partnerships that expand educational and recreational opportunities. Especially when mental and physical developmental health for children; and shared cost savings justify the partnership.

City Parks & Rec and School District Land Offers Shared Benefits

Once the intergovernmental agreement is consummated – in time, it is quickly realized by community leaders an educational outreach and community engagement opportunity occur. There’s no better way to outreach, engage and gather public support for other city and school district priorities than when our children’s needs are put first.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant, Former Tigard City Councilor. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2019 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit:”

Recreation Saves Lives and Cities

14 10 2018

“City recreation is now the policy maker in partnership with city leaders, especially as health and recreational access disparity grows.”

Updated: 14 October 2018, Marc Woodard

Today’s cities compete for residents and business by offering state of the art recreation facilities services and programs, developed parks and greenway trail systems, safe walkways and open green space and for good reason.  It is the tremendous economic, social, wellbeing and fit healthy benefits these recreational amenities bring to community.  Once people relate to these benefits their more likely to value, support and demand these things of city leaders.

I’ve known for years, when children are involved in daily playtime activities and organized sport they grow up valuing and prioritizing these things. Then share those experiences and memories with their children. It is also well documented by medical professionals kids need structured playtime to physically and cognitively grow into happy and healthy productive adults. And when recreational access to healthy activities is limited in schools and city neighborhoods sedentary habits, drug addiction, teenage crime and abnormal behavioral problems increase.

“The Center for Disease and Control reports “obesity now affects 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the United States.”

A national health risk trend parents are also concerned about for good reason is childhood obesity. It is said by many health experts childhood obesity and health disparity has reached epidemic proportions. The Center for Disease and Control reports “obesity now affects 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the United States.” It is widely known obesity has a direct connection to diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological disease including cancer, etc.

“Public recreation centers now educate our children on healthy lifestyle, not our schools [Surgeon General Dr. Murthy].”

Communities that recognize these health and behavioral risk connections are calling for more structured recreational activities and nurturing places for children to attend outside of public school yards.   Parents seek safe, structured and affordable afterschool programs to reduce these risks.  Active adults are also drawn to city recreational amenities but for different reasons.

“Active adults are also drawn to city recreational amenities but for different reasons.”

During the NRPA (National Recreation and Parks Association) 2015 conference, the US Surgeon General Dr. Murthy stated public community recreation centers must strive to provide fit healthy lifestyle programs and activities for all demographics. He also called to action to create a nation of walkers with connected wheel chair emphasis in design within a walkable community where everyone could participate in exercise activity.

He also described how public recreation centers now educate our children on healthy lifestyle, not our schools.  City recreation is now the policy maker in partnership with city leaders, especially as health and recreational access disparity grows.

And when cities lack public recreation facilities families look elsewhere to find them and even relocate to meet long term child development and active adult needs.

Families with children aren’t the only demographic demanding more of city recreation services and programs. The boomer population being the largest demographic has the resources to make or break affordable and sustainable city services for communities.

Active adults [senior citizens] living without children want more public recreation programs. “But for different reasons then families with young children.”

As a fit healthy lifestyle consultant and passion for city recreation I’ve attended multiple National League of City Conferences (NLC) in Washington D.C., and National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and Oregon Recreation and Parks Association (ORPA) conferences. It is very clear city recreation “saves lives [Dr. Murthy 2015]” and sustains economic, political and social culture and affordable city services – through civic outreach and engagement opportunities by city leaders.

Through community recreation, events and activities are the opportunities to engage the public to find out what city priorities and goals they’ll support. When cities use public recreation opportunities as a feedback mechanism – it is quickly determined what people need, want and will support within the city projects, planning and budget process.

I regress … Saving lives is a pretty clear concept from a recreators point of view.

That is – fit healthy activities for active adults …

And safe-supervised kid’s space and place to hang out with friends; and offer age appropriate playtime activities and social networking to make face-to-face connections – which supports: fit healthy habits, moral values, mentorship, coaching, community collaboration and involvement parents want for their children in becoming the next productive leaders of tomorrow.

But how does recreation save cities?

Top reason active adults relocate: “A need to live in a more recreationally enriched area.”

Consider the following insight.

There is a growing trend of adults who live very active lifestyles and want centralized city recreation programs within a reasonable distance from where they live. Which include multi-use indoor swimming pools, aerobics, yoga, exercise room, wellbeing and fitness classes, pickle ball, self-defense, arts, crafts and hobby and social events space etc., the list goes on.

Senior citizens also want to be referred to and categorized as active adults [forever ageless]. On average active adults spend $40,000 per year discretionary income. Studies show they spend a lot of this income on recreational activities [ORPA 2016]. And by far represent the largest volunteer population in cities that support libraries, police, schools and city recreation programs, parks and trail systems.

“On average active adults spend $40,000 per year discretionary income.”

Cities need to find ways to retain and attract more of the active adult community because of their economic impact on cities. They represent the largest demographic with the greatest discretionary income holdings.  Keeping active adults encouraged and interested to stay contributes significantly to the economic viability and affordability of city living.

The top 3 reasons people move away from a previous location: 1) A need to live in a more recreationally enriched area. 2) Get away from cold weather. When families and seniors live in cold environments they look for accessible and convenient indoor public use recreation facilities. 3) Live in an area with a plethora of public recreation programming opportunities for active adults and families. [ORPA 2016].

“Dollars that stay in communities sustain a quality of affordable city services for everyone.”

The best way to illustrate the financial impact active adults have on communities is by painting a relatable financial and sustainable city services picture. For example if 100 active-retired adults remain residents that retains $4m dollars of discretionary income spent within the city boundaries. Recall on average active adults spend $40,000 per year discretionary income.

Those dollars support economic development, small business and other sustainable city services connected to city fees & taxes, etc. Hence, dollars that stay in communities sustain a quality of affordable city services for everyone.

Providing for the next generations recreational needs must be a competitive city priority. Especially if it is to remain healthy, sustainable and a place people want to stay and call home.

When cities provide for the recreational needs of a community, it creates a healthy place people want to live, work, play and age in place.

The big take away is when city leaders value, prioritize and invest in city recreation, everyone in community wins and those fit healthy benefits will sustain cities by incentivizing the next generation to age in place.




Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,

City Recreation Reversing Inactivity Pandemic

21 06 2017

“communities are trending in support of more city recreation facilities, services and programs.”

Now more than ever people are attracted to walkable cities and community recreation facilities to help melt away unforgiving body fat and get more fit.

Parents want these fit healthy opportunities and resources for their children as seen in recent city services surveys and studies.  Local and National statistics show there is good reason communities are trending in this direction.

The National Center for Health Statistics show more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity (NCHS 2015). Overweight conditions don’t just present a diabetes and heart disease risk for adults. There is also what some consider a near epidemic of childhood obesity cases growing nationwide. “Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity (Center for Disease and Control 2017).”

“design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity”

Another study shows when city urban designers and architects work together to improve human life, “design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity” and “reduce the health burden of the global physical inactivity pandemic (The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10034, p2207-2217, 28 May 2016).”

These statistics and other studies like them are resonating within the public and community leadership to combat the national inactivity pandemic.  Whereas healthy lifestyle justice – [regardless of social or economic status] demands more city recreation facilities, activities access and equal use for all… and the public is listening.

As a city leader, I fully support Tigard’s strong vision to become the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest.  I understand how walkable cities and recreation activities and events motivate people to move more, increase fitness levels and sustain better health and wellbeing.  Which also makes us more productive.

“When cities lack public recreation facilities families look elsewhere for those things… (Woodard 2017).”

Recently I published an article “Recreation Saves Lives and Cities.” Within the article I detail how walkable communities and recreational facilities are valued from a public health, social, economic and city sustainability perspective.

These distinctions and importance can’t be emphasized enough especially since adults now demand more public recreation activities and community facilities for them and their children. “When cities lack public recreation facilities families look elsewhere to find them and even relocate to meet long term child development and active adult needs (Woodard 2017).”

Community events are small business incubators and so much more.


Cities that invest in recreation assets and programs are further enriched by attracting and retaining people who need and want those things… coincidentally support other essential city operations and community at large.

It is these public use recreation facilities and activities investments that motivate bodies to stay in motion, gather, socialize and activate commerce.  Including small business incubator opportunities.

Regardless of social and economic status all people benefit by supporting and investing in walkable communities and recreational facilities, activities, events, programs and services.

In ending, there is one recreational activity everyone can participate in at no cost to stay fit healthy throughout the year.  Tigard has no shortage of city trail systems and park lands.

“My favorite recreational activity for exercise is walking along Fanno Creek Regional trail system through Tigard.”

My favorite recreational activity for exercise is walking along Fanno Creek Regional trail system through Tigard.  If you’ve not taken the opportunity to experience it with family or friends I highly recommend it.

This is a very relaxing and fun way to get a little exercise, burn some calories while taking in nature’s beauty. Along the way be sure to spend a little time Down Town Tigard, visit the local shops and grab a healthy meal.

To learn more about Tigard walking trails, connections and Down Town area visit Tigard walks at .

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,

Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain Connection

21 04 2014


Seek adventures in life.  This will motivate you to stay active.

Seek adventures in life. This will motivate you to stay active.

How many of you have a tendency to stay up late and then eat too much before bed time?  Or do you lack a good night’s sleep because of daily stress, anxiety or snoring while you sleep?  Do you wake up with little energy and then eat too much throughout the day?  Believe it or not there is a connection between these causes of your sleepless nights and weight gain.

Most are unaware when we lack a good night’s sleep we are then sleep deprived and our body is chemically stimulated internally and then activated to gain weight.  Much of this cause and effect has to do with one or more behavioral habits, environmental stressors and/or medical disorder that cause us to lose sleep.  And when we lose sleep our internal body’s hormonal and metabolic conditions shift to crave more food.

Let’s first address staying up late at night and eating too much before bed.  At night when you don’t sleep “for whatever reason” your body continues to burn energy and you feel hungry.  Instead of sleeping, you’re prone to eat more.  And this is the worse time to eat when the body’s metabolism is at its lowest metabolic burn rate.  Staying up late and watching Television and eating fattening food snacks are behavioral habits that don’t help in maintaining healthy body weight.

However, if the reason you do this is because of a bad habit of watching late night TV, the good news is this habit can be changed.  The not so good news is… if this habit is caused from chronic stress, anxiety and/or depression; behavioral therapy and/or medical treatment may be needed to address a primary medical condition prior to changing a secondary bad food habit used as a comfort crutch.

When you stay up late or don’t get enough sleep and if this trend continues, you’re going to feel low motivation to work, exercise, or even work on relationships, etc.  But a worse effect often results from sleep deprivation, i.e., food cravings that cause us to eat more than we would otherwise.  This is likely the result of hormonal and metabolic imbalances caused from sleep deprivation that attempt to resolve the body of feeling bad, or experiencing low energy levels.  And this feeling is typically coupled to a varying degree; a depressed mind-body [known as psychosomatic relationship].  Sleep deprived individuals are often unaware of these internal mechanisms and how they internally activate to provide the body a feeling of normalcy.

“The lack of sleep also changes the balance of hormones in your body, especially ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin spurs you to eat, and leptin tells you when to stop. When you are sleep-deprived, your body creates more ghrelin and less leptin; this leads to more eating, additional calories, and extra weight gain (Brooks 2014).”  “In fact, have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied?  If so, then you have experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin (Bouchez 2014).”

Also when tired you’re more prone to feel stressors and anxiety associated with the daily grind.  Why?  Because you lack the energy to mentally and physically shield yourself of their effects within your internal environment.  And when the body feels overwhelmed and depressed, then the mind and spirit is also less able to cope these stressors.

Sleeping disorders and behavioral habits can cause acute and chronic depression.  “People with insomnia often wake repeatedly during the night and don’t feel rested in the morning.  Insomnia can cause or worsen fatigue, already a symptom of depression.  ‘Sleep is clearly linked with mental health and insomnia is considered a hallmark of depression (Tracey 2014).”

Your weight gain nemesis may be directly related to any number of internal or external environmental conditions, or stressors that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.  Then you may feel depressed and eat for comfort; or your body tells you it’s time to eat even when not hungry. Or by simply not getting enough sleep the fat cell is unable to release its stored energy.

    “For years researchers have known that adults who sleep less than five or six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight. Among children, sleeping less than 10 hours a night is associated with weight gain.  ‘Now a fascinating new study suggests that the link may be even more insidious than previously thought.  Losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain (Parker-Pope 2013).” 

    “Perhaps the largest study to track the effects of sleep habits on weight gain over a period of time was presented by the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2006. The study that included nearly 70,000 middle aged women specifically pointed out those women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night (Menopot 2014).”

It’s interesting to note within the fat cell itself, there is a physiological responses to metabolic hormonal imbalances caused by a poor night’s sleep.  In other words studies show us the longer one goes without sleep causes fat cells to malfunction by preventing its release of stored energy.  And for those that experience too many sleepless nights the risk of diabetes, circulatory and cardio health risk increases with weight gain.

“To investigate, Matthew Brady at the University of Chicago and his colleagues tested fat cells taken from the bellies of seven adults after four nights of sleeping up to 8 and a half hours, and then again after four nights on a measly 4 and a half hours.  The team found that after sleep deprivation fat cells from the same person were on average 30 per cent less responsive to insulin – a hormone that makes muscle, liver and fat cells take up glucose after a meal.”

“High blood glucose levels are linked to diabetes. Fat cells also normally release the appetite-regulating hormone leptin [tells you when to stop eating]. Brady suggests that if sleep-deprived cells are generally malfunctioning, this mechanism may also be disrupted, affecting weight gain (Hamzelou 2012).”

There are many reasons one may not get a good night’s sleep.  We’ve briefly touched on insomnia, behavioral habits and suggested environment stressors that keep us from getting a good night’s sleep.  But there are also medical conditions like sleep apnea, chronic depression and other medical disorders patients need help with in order to get a good night’s sleep, maintain healthy body weight and overall good health.

“It appears individuals can learn to change habits and behaviors through a natural process of removing an identified anxiety-stress stimulus.  Once the anxiety or stress trigger mechanism has been removed; anxiety and depression symptoms may be alleviated for many and go away never to return (Woodard 2010).”

Outside of environmental stressors and bad habits, there is a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea that causes many to lose sleep because of excessive snoring.  But it must be pointed out those who snore don’t necessarily have sleep apnea.  Which will become apparent after review of the summarized sleep study below.

Sleep apnea occurs during sleep and when muscle tissue is relaxed at the back of the throat in a way that partially occludes a clear airway.  In some cases, as more weighted tissue is involved around the throat area the structural airway integrity buckles and partially blocks it of free air passage.  This buckling can be thought of as a breach of the airway and in a way that causes excessive snoring.

There is also a neurological condition that is not a mechanical breach or related to an overweight condition.  Instead sleep apnea can occur due to the CNS (Central Nervous System) signaling the brain to stop breathing intermittently during sleep.  This type of breathing interruption is less understood but can be treated in the same way as a mechanical blockage using CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or dental device that keeps airway open.  Also both medical conditions of sleep apnea “mechanical and neurological” can also occur simultaneously.  In any event, dependent on medical diagnosis can be medically treated and/or surgically corrected to varying degrees of a successful outcome.

Those with sleep apnea repeatedly wake up because of snoring and occluded airway and May, or may not be consciously aware of doing so. But in almost all cases, those with untreated sleep apnea rarely feel they’ve had a good night’s sleep, feel unrested when they awake and are typically tired throughout the day.

Sleep apnea is serious business because respiratory failure and other health risk have led to death.  If you or spouse have a serious snoring problem, or stop breathing intermittently during sleep, or can’t sleep for whatever reason… see your physician and request a sleep study test.

Sleep Study Tests Show the Following Results:  While asleep, those with sleep apnea unknowingly experience episodes where they stop breathing.  This can occur 5-50 times per hour and up to 300 times during regular sleep.  But if the “non-breathing” episodes only last seconds or less, this does not appear to have a significant health risk to the body.  But if one is sleeping and averages 30 “non-breathing” episodes per hourly average where breathing stops up to 10 second intervals minimum between breaths, this is where serious health risk increases and incremental/accumulative damage to the heart occurs.  While loved one(s) and friends assume you simply have a bad, loud obnoxious snore, this could in fact be an indicator of something far worse than irritating those around you.  And also be aware, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea.  Only a sleep study test can prove this for sure (Woodard 2010).

When we snore and wake up repeatedly, or get little sleep for whatever reason we lack in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  While under REM our skeletal muscles are deeply relaxed and we dream and our food intake throughout the day is better regulated because our hormones and metabolism is refreshed, energized and balanced optimally.

It is especially important if you suffer from stress, anxiety, obesity, respiratory, or other disorder that causes you to lose sleep, seek medical treatment.  Treatment may include anti-anxiety, depression and/or behavioral therapy with, or without hormonal or prescription drug treatment.  If overweight you may also be tested for diabetes, heart and circulatory health, etc. Tests and treatment recommendations may also include sleep study test, CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or other device treatment, surgery to alleviate sleep disorder condition, etc.

Regardless of what prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep it is possible to target the problem of your sleep deprivation for sake of your health and overall wellbeing.

Developing or resolving good sleep habits and patterns will support healthy body weight, reduce daily stress and anxiety levels; and will provide the feel good energy to live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve.

Works Cited and Article Resources,

Bouchez, Colette. “The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep.” Review. Web log post. WebMD. WebMD, LLC., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Brooks, Dominique W., MD, MBA. “Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.” LoveToKnow. LoveToKnow Corp., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Hamzelou, Jessica. “‘Tired’ Fat Cells Might Trigger Obesity.” NewScientist. Reed Business Information Ltd., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Menopot. “Insomnia and Weight Gain.” Insomnia and Weight Gain. Menopot, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Tracy, Natasha. “Depression and Sleep Disorders.” HealthyPlace. HealthyPlace, 8 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Sleep Apnea an Insidious Angel of Death.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 23 July 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, MSC Officer, ANG Ret. 2014 Copyright.  All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @:, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.