Health and the Great Outdoors

During these unprecedented and extraordinary times with sever restrictions on our everyday movement, the health benefits linked to the importance of nature and outdoor exercise are more relevant than ever. Here is a list of articles which explore this idea – click on the article to view it in full:

The importance of nature for health: is there a specific benefit of contact with green space? An in-depth study carried out by the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence.

Choosing Activity: a physical activity action plan A report produced by the Department for Health concluding that regular physical activity contributes to the prevention of more than 20 conditions including coronary heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, mental ill-health and obesity.

Tracking restoration in natural and urban field settings An article written in the Journal of Environmental Psychology concluding trees and woods can have a restorative and therapeutic effect on the mind.

Environmental preferences and restoration: (how) are they related? Research in the Netherlands and Japan indicated that people were more likely to walk or cycle to work if the streets were lined with trees and live longer and feel better as a result, concluding that trees have been found to enhance mood, improve self esteem and lower blood pressure.

Can Green Space and Biodiversity Increase Levels of Physical Activity? A Report by Dr William Bird for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds outlining the benefits to physical and mental health arising from contact with the natural environment. These included the reductions in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stress, ADHD, aggression and criminal activity, amongst others.

Trees and woodlands: Nature’s health service This publication by Liz O’Brien provides information and evidence supporting the idea that the use and enjoyment of woodlands and green spaces improves people’s overall health and well-being.

Landscape and Urban Planning Growing evidence suggests an association between access to urban green space and mental health and well-being. This study suggests that street trees may be a positive urban asset to decrease the risk of negative mental health outcomes.

In conclusion, if you possibly can, it is important to try and get outside each day for some exercise to help strengthen both physical and mental well-being.