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Talk and Walk with a Doc

Elyssa Thompson

Join cardiologist Elissa Thompson, MD, and a park ranger for the outdoor wellness series held at Cape Cod National Seashore.

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Healthy Parks Healthy People

Enjoy the abundant recreation offered by the Cape Cod National Seashore

Healthy Parks Healthy People is a program to promote health and wellness for year-round and seasonal residents, as well as visitors to the Cape, and is a partnership of Cape Cod National Seashore and Cape Cod Healthcare.

The Healthy Parks Healthy People global movement was adopted by the National Park Service, to form a program that fosters the role of parks and public lands as a health prevention strategy, encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and connecting to nature and the outdoors, and environmental sustainability.

The Cape Cod National Seashore is unique within the U.S. park system because of its intimate and intricate connection with our community. Its 44,000 acres wind through and around Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Chatham and Orleans. Every year, more than four million people – visitors, residents and seasonal residents- enjoy the abundant nature and recreation offered by the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Benefitting the health of our community

As with everywhere across the United States, on Cape Cod we are also facing an increase of major health problems associated with weight, heart disease, diabetes, childhood obesity and hypertension. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce obesity, manage diabetes, lower blood pressure and lower risks for heart disease and other chronic disease.

Our Cape Cod Healthcare team and the National Seashore’s staff stress the benefits of outdoor exercise and appreciation of nature as means to improved health. Healthcare providers may even prescribe, as medically appropriate, walking at the National Seashore as part of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People program via a written “park prescription”.

Healthy recreation

There are a variety of ways to enjoy the National Seashore, including:

  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Kayaking
  • Surfing and SUP
  • Walking

View a full trail guide for hiking and biking.

Learn more about Ranger-guided activities.

Additionally, if interested in training for an upcoming 5k race, the National Seashore makes for an inspirational setting! Check out our Couch-to-5k Training Program.

Talk and Walk with a Doc - an outdoor wellness series

NEW for 2022! Join cardiologist Elissa Thompson, MD and a park ranger as they team up for a short talk focused on parks as cornerstones for human and environmental health, followed by a ranger-led trail walk. Explore the benefits of nature on Cape Cod, with topics including exercise, nutrition, mindfulness and more, while learning about the unique cultural and natural elements of the Cape's ecosystem.

Visitor centers

  • Salt Pond Visitor Center, Route 6, Eastham, MA 02642 (508) 255-3421, open year round.
  • Province Lands Visitor Center, Race Point Road, Provincetown, MA 02657 (508) 487-1256, open May through October.